In India, there is a culture of what is called Streedhan. A woman during her wedding, or before the ceremonies, is given gifts that remain hers and hers alone, irrespective of her shared finances with her partner or in-laws. Streedhan can constitute many financial assets, or consumer products which may help secure the future of the woman.Owing to the many social evils in India, streedhan is often a security blanket for many women, should things go south. And that is why, its even more important that women must know their rights in India when it comes to it.What is included in Streedhan?Streedhan is not equivalent to dowry, and Indian judicial system has made that distinction. On streedhan, the woman has absolute rights and authority to decide what she must do with it. The following items can be included in streedhan: Gifts given to the bride before or during the ceremonies part of the wedding. Gifts given to the woman as a token of blessings by her father-in-law, mother-in-law. Gifts given to the woman by her family. Gifts given to the woman by her relatives or her husbands relatives. Gifts given to her by anyone (friends, colleagues, etc).While streedhan includes almost anything given to the woman, it does not include any gifts given to her husband or to them as a couple.What should you know about Streedhan? Streedhan includes both movable and immovable assets. And a woman has absolute right over these gifts, which can be of any amount, with no upper limit. If a woman dies within seven years of her marriage, under circumstances that show a foul play, her streedhan will be given to her children (if any), or else her parents. A woman can claim her streedhan even after divorce or separation. A womans partner or husband cannot hold on to her streedhan, even if it is stored in their possession. She has the right to retrieve it and if they dont let her, it can be seen as a criminal offence under Sections 405 and 406 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). While the husband has no right over the streedhan, in times of crisis, if he does use it for establishing financial security for the family, he will have to restore it or its value later.Ways to protect your streedhan The woman should make a list of all gifts and properties received before, during and after the marriage. She must have at least two witnesses (just for precaution). Maintain documentation of your streedhan, in forms of pictures, receipts, etc. Have a personal bank account. If a womans family uses her streedhan to buy other assets, a record of such investments must be made. If possible, request for income-generation assets instead of consumer goods. They offer more financial security and its easy to document these.