The Curse of Inheritance in IndiaBijay J Anand,
I have a friend in New York. When his wife of 48 years passed away, he donated his entire art collection worth millions of dollars to a museum. His son was 38 years old at that time. Married with two children, living the life of a typical American. Big outstanding mortgage payments, insurance, exorbitant schooling fees for his children… Between his wife and himself, they struggled to keep up with the stress and strain of survival.
I remember meeting his son during the handing-over ceremony of the art collection to the museum. He was calm, cool, composed and was extremely upset about the recent demise of his beloved mother. At least on the surface, it did not look at all like it bothered him that his father was bestowing millions of dollars worth of art when he, as his son, should ideally have inherited it all.
In India, a son like that would have shot his father, or worse.
That might be an overstatement or exaggeration. But certainly, in India, we assume from birth that what belongs to our parents is ours to keep.We consider it our birthright to inherit everything that our parents have toiled for. It is inconceivable to us that our parents might have dreams of their own, plans of their own or maybe want to make their own decisions as far as their money or wealth is concerned.