Friday, February 15, 2008


It is the body of literature describing the lives and veneration of the Christian saints. The literature of hagiography embraces acts of the martyrs (i.e., accounts of their trials and deaths); biographies of saintly monks, bishops, princes, or virgins; and accounts of miracles connected with saints' tombs, relics, icons, or statues.

Hagiographies have been written from the 2nd century AD to instruct and edify readers and glorify the saints. In the Middle Ages it was customary to read aloud at divine office and in the monastic refectory (dining hall) biographies of the principal saints on their feast days. Besides biographies of single saints, other works of hagiography told the stories of a class of saints, such as Eusebius of Caesarea's account of the martyrs of Palestine (4th century AD) and Pope Gregory I the Great's Dialogues, a collection of stories about Saint Benedict and other 6th-century Latin monks. Perhaps the most important hagiographic collection is the Legenda aurea (Golden Legend) of Jacobus de Voragine in the 13th century. Modern critical hagiography began in 17th-century Flanders with the Jesuit ecclesiastic Jean Bolland and his successors, who became known as Bollandists.

The importance of hagiography derives from the vital role that the veneration of the saints played throughout medieval civilization in both eastern and western Christendom. Second, this literature preserves much valuable information not only about religious beliefs and customs but also about daily life, institutions, and events in historical periods for which other evidence is either imprecise or nonexistent.

The hagiographer has a threefold task: to collect all the material relevant to each particular saint, to edit the documents according to the best methods of textual criticism, and to interpret the evidence by using literary, historical, and any other pertinent criteria.

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Replies to shoutbox discussions

@Suresh: Agree with your assessment. But a real national leader is one who could muster his faculties to articulate a cause that is felt strongly about by the larger masses and mobilize them to it. Had you and I lived in pre-independence era, could we have mobilized people the way a Gandhi or Nehru mobilized? That's the stuff leaders are made of. At present, yes we are woefully short of them. Instead what we are witnessing is regional and sectarian leaders articulating narrow and petty considerations for the perceived wants of a few, often to the chagrin and detriment of the needs of the majority.

Suresh: out

7 Feb 08, 19:15

Suresh: looking at issues that are important for the country, unlike previous generation(Nehruian era), where all the leaders had faced Imperialism since its a national issue they gained popularity through

7 Feb 08, 19:13

Suresh: I wonder who is going to have a national leader appeal in the next elections, present day no one commands such respect from every state, its big vaccume. The reason for this trend is nobody is

7 Feb 08, 03:21

indian: We can see it very distinctly where it is heading and we are doing nothing, whatsoever, to counter it.

7 Feb 08, 03:21

indian: Yes we can ! and Yes we are !

@cvrk: Yes I agree with you. Looks like regionalism is gaining momentum at the moment. What with the louder (and shriller?) calls for Telangana, Vidarbha Incidents in Mumbai etc.

6 Feb 08, 22:18

cvrk: mumbai for mumbaikars, changing the new year,etc. Are we not seeing a trend of regionalism gaining over nationalism?

6 Feb 08, 22:17

cvrk: attention, particlularly in the light of recent developments such as

6 Feb 08, 22:17

cvrk: naming issues: Hello RamkyC, even though it started with names, can you see there is one more area that was trying to pin pointed. The absence of national leader. do nt you feel that it deserves more

6 Feb 08, 18:02

raj: can anyone comment on the future of Loksatta Party in Andhra Pradesh as it just kickstarted its campaigning?

6 Feb 08, 17:09

@Mayank: Thanks for answering Sreenadh. Look at the second part as Left's (mostly; but there in other parties too) strong belief that our natural resources should not be sold. For eg., you might remember the huge debate about iron ore exports. Should we or should we not export our iron ore fines. This question attracted lot of debate, with strong reasons both for and against. People cutting across all parties have strong and informed stand about the issue. Very tough to side with one to the exclusion of the other.

Mayank: i.e the NATION seize control of their reserves of some RESOURCES. This is Resource Nationalism.Sir, plz corect me if I am wrong.The 2nd part of your question, no clues, I leave it totally on Sir :)

6 Feb 08, 17:08

Mayank: What I know, 'Resource Nationalism' is - a nation declares that I am not going to 'share' (read 'sell') resources which are produced within my nation.

6 Feb 08, 13:09

Sreenadh: Hi, can u throw some light on what is resource nationalism? and also statement "strong undercurrent of this in India’s political economy"

5 Feb 08, 22:59

adi: Our coountry will be divided in more ways than we can imagine?

5 Feb 08, 21:25

abhi: remya do u still give that public admin gudance.i needed your notes ..please help

Friday, February 01, 2008

Basics about primary and secondary stock markets

Quite a few of you have asked me at one time or the other to define or explain about stock markets. More specifically primary and secondary markets. You can’t get a better explanation than the one that appeared in today’s article ‘Not so primary a market’ in the ET.

For the impatient amongst you, the following excerpt would be just enough:

For sustained economic growth, it is essential to have a stock market that mobilises and allocates capital efficiently. To place the capital market in perspective, it would be useful to distinguish between the “new issues market” and “stock exchange”. The “new issues market” allocates long-term funds to corporates in an economy without constraining the investment horizon of the investors. The “stock exchange” facilitates buyers and sellers to transact in securities issued in the “new issues market”. Hence, the economic significance of the stock market stems from its role as an allocator of resources. As a result, the “new issues market” which is of primary importance to the economy is called the primary market and the “stock exchange” which provides liquidity and facilitates price discovery is called the secondary market.

A vibrant secondary market must ensure an efficient primary market. However, in the case of India, though the economy is home to the third and the fifth largest exchanges in the world in terms of the number of transactions, the amount of capital mobilised in the primary market is negligible. To substantiate this claim, it may be noted that between 1996 and 2006 debt instruments accounted for more than 80% of the funds raised from the primary market. Dependence on debt per se is not bad, however, what makes the situation grim is the fact that more than 80% of the debt was issued in the form of private placement.

In terms of mobilising funds from the capital surplus economic units, the primary market attracts less than 4% of the total savings of the household sector.