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September 21, 2013

King Shivaji: Superior in Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication is not at all limited to body language, facial expressions, gestures, postures, vocal tones, para-language, cultural norms, etiquette, impressionism and attire only. It’s the unimaginably broader area that includes different entities, techniques, operations and methods to convey messages, indications, signals, hints and clues from source to destination without words.

Without any doubt, tactical rewards are assured after thoroughly studying, discovering potentials of and applying various elements of nonverbal communication in practical life. After successfully exchanging nonverbal messages and decoding them accurately in lesser amount of time, many stories of unbelievable successes and victories could be written. World's history of warfare and tactics is full of the same.

You might know that torches can be used to send messages or signals especially in darkness by waving or moving them in a pre-specified or a particular pattern. Perhaps, you’ve might seen people doing the same in movies only. What if a King utilizes smoke and cannons to convey encoded messages for achieving something incredible which his enemies cannot think about same in the first place? This is what was exactly happening during 17th century in Maratha Empire of medieval India.

The great Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj intelligently studied and utilized different entities, tools and methods for spreading encoded messages or signals to the troops and allies scattered over a large geographical area and many miles away from the locations where the messages were initiated. This was really the greatest achievement at the time when an exchange taking place among individuals located at different geographical locations wasn’t rapid and efficient.

Human messengers who were capable of covering larger distances on their feet or by riding horses and other animals were employed to exchange written and oral messages. Messages were also used to be sent by employing pigeons, hawks or eagles. Still, it used to take hours, days and sometimes months for successful passage and exchange of a message from one point to another.

Along with same, there were many hurdles, hazards, time constraints, climatic challenges, and physical limitations for exchanging an ordinary message by the aforementioned methods. Nevertheless, it was not assured that the message makes to its destination and the person for which it is intended due to chances of interception, loss and theft. Also, impairment, murder or death of message carrier was highly likely.

Only way was to send some encoded visual or auditory (sounds) messages or signals from one location. Torches can be used to send encoded signals from one point to another but over a certain distance due to limitation of visibility. So what King Shivaji and his men did to convey messages that let them to excel in tactical communication? They might have used other entities, ways, methods, tools and techniques but any written evidences haven’t found yet. Let’s see how they used colored smoke and sounds generated by firing cannons for signaling.


Signals given by firing cannons: King Shivaji and his army fought many wars but the battle of Paawan Khind (Khind - a narrow passage way in the mountainous terrain) became legendary in the whole history of warfare for Maratha Empire. Also, it’s really interesting to know that how exactly Shivaji could send a crucial encoded message to his fighting men much quickly in that critical and demanding situation.

During the secret escape from Panhalgad (a mountainous fort situated near Kolhapur, Maharastra), he and some 600 soldiers headed towards Vishalgad (another mountainous fort, few kilometers away from Panhalgad) through the thick forest at a night with the full moon above in the sky. On their way, they eventually came of know that the enemy troops of Adil Shah has were pursuing them upon getting intelligence of Shivaji's escape and they were getting closer to Shivaji and his companions progressively.
 
King Shivaji had to reach on Vishalgad at any cost so Bajiprabhu Deshpande (a legendary warrior and one of his commanders) and few men decided stay at Paawan khind, fight with the approaching enemy and let Shivaji reach to the destination safely. He kindly requested Shivaji and other men to keep moving towards Vishalgad. With heavy heart, Shivaji had to keep moving on by leaving 300 committed men behind him to fight with some 3,000 enemy soldiers.
 
Unlike most of the other self-centered kings, Shivaji was deeply concerned about those men who had decided to create barrier between him and the approaching enemy troops. After reaching at the destination safely, Shivaji couldn’t waste time in attempt of saving lives of his gallantry warriors. Paawan Khind was located few kilometers away from Vishalgad so he could send messengers on horseback to convey the message.
 
A cannon: Fastest way to send sound across miles
 
He told them to keep on fighting until he doesn’t reach at Vishalgad and fires few rounds of cannon as signal of his successful and safe appearance at the destination. He asked his men to retreat and run away from enemy soldiers immediately after hearing the sound. Why did he choose only cannons to send them the signal? 

Crisscrossing hills, thick forest and valleys of Western Ghats of Maharastra were the greatest barriers for visual signals. Hence only large and bustling noise could travel the larger distance efficiently and cross the terrain much quickly. That was a ingenuously, instantly and tactically delivered nonverbal message during highly tense time.

Even though they were fatally wounded, Shivaji's gallantry soldiers kept fighting with high spirit and great energy until they heard the roaring sound created by the cannons fired at Vishalgad upon Shivaji's order. Finally, all 300 men including Bajiprabhu Deshpande scarified themselves happily to safeguard the great Maratha Empire.

Signals given by colored smoke: King Shivaji conquered, built and repaired more than 300 forts as the guarding posts of his vast and growing empire that was constantly being spied, invaded and attacked by rivals, kings and emperors. As forts were separated from each other over miles, sending audio signals or messages quickly wasn’t possible. Hence, he came up with an excellent idea.

He ordered the men who were guarding the forts to use smoke for sending signals among different forts spread over a larger geographical are of his empire's heartland. Going further, he invented an encoded messaging system by generating colored smoke. His men discovered trees, bushes and shrubs that could generate smoke in different colors.
 
Colored smoke: Easily visible from a long distances
 
As it has been found in historical documents, white colored smoke was used to convey positive messages e. g. victory, conquer, allying or expansion of empire. On the other hand, black colored smoke was used to convey negative messages e.g. defeat, retreat, betrayal or death.

After watching colored smoke rising upward from a fort, guards at different forts used to generate smoke with same color to pass on the message to other forts. Just within few hours, a message initiated from one fort could reach to another which was located hundreds or thousands miles away from the first one.

Prescribed codes for bodily conduct: King Shivaji asked his delegates, representatives and messengers to adapt an upright seating posture in meetings. He also asked them to avoid doing uncontrolled and immature body movements, facial expressions, gestures and eye contacts. According to him, any message to the servants should be conveyed through subtle gestures, expressions or emblems only to accomplish the intended tasks.

This article is dedicated to the great King Shivaji Maharaj (Maharaj - a Sanskrit word synonymous to 'King'), his gallantry soldiers, close companions, secret agents and intelligence officers. Shivaji was not only a brave Indian warrior to carve a sovereign pan-Indian subcontinental empire out of the mighty and persecuting Mughal Empire but also a great visionary, engineer, entrepreneur and strategist to inspire millions in their daily lives. He is openly appreciated and accredited by many world famous leaders, historians, travelers, generals politicians, researchers, experts and academics.

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September 14, 2013

The Look of Love?

Where there's smoke, there's fire! This fundamental principle perfectly applies to attraction, courtship and romance because the sparks in hearts speak silently during the early stages of relationship. However, the clues we try to obtain (or ignore) from potential or existing partner can either make us to stray into the smoke of uncertainty or end up in the perfect fiery disaster.
 
Can just a single clue given away by other person indicate brewing attraction or romantic feelings about you? This is a grueling question that most of us want to find a firm answer for. A recently conducted research claims that a mere glance gives away the clue. Being myself an observer, I attest the results of the same research and this article is about the same.

When a woman develops romantic or intimate feelings about a man, she briefly glances at right side in presence or memory of him. She does so even if she finds complement given to her by the man more appealing. Coy smile, raised eyebrows and micro-expression of happiness may accompany the glance.

Specifically, women have been observed giving an indicative glance more (often) as compared to men. Hence, it is widely utilized in commercial advertisements by female models endorsing the kind of products which needs expression of attraction and romantic feelings towards the male models.

My own insight about this type of glance is all about how a man and woman normally stand or walk alongside with each other. Most men in this world are right handed and women use to stand at the left side of them. This kind of physical positioning might not be just a cultural norm because men are supposed to protect their female partner.

Men can keep their female partner (also children) at left side of their bodies and attack or defend them by an arm or a weapon hold in their right hands. Thus a woman glancing at right side unconsciously appeals the desired man to position or stand at right side of her i. e. to protect her.

So what about men? A man too glances briefly at left side in presence of woman he likes, finds interesting or wants to be romantic with. It perfectly complements with glancing done at right side by a woman. Man wants her woman to position herself or stand at left side of him so that he could protect her. 

Side-way glancing or looking into eyes of each other can be observed in couples with positive spirit. In contrast, they tend to look away from each other when they are in troubled relationship, mutual disliking or disagreement over something.

The research about side-way glancing might have been conducted on women seeking right handed men only. Similar observations were not recorded about women seeking left handed men till date. An article about same was published in UK's DailyMail. You can go through entire article by following this link.

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