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Shivaji Maharaj: Superior in Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication cannot be limited to body language, facial expressions, para language, cultural norms, etiquettes, impressionism and attire only. It’s the broadest domain that includes different entities, techniques, operations and methods to convey wordless messages, indications, signals and clues from source to destination. 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 success stories could be written in an unbelievable manner.

You might know that torches can be used to send messages or signals especially in darkness by waving or moving them symbolically. Perhaps, you’ve might seen people doing so 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 at first place? This is what was exactly happening during 17th century in Maratha Empire of medieval India. A great King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who intelligently studied and utilized different entities for spreading encoded signals to its army and allies scattered miles away from the locations where messages were initiated. This was really a greatest achievement at the time when exchange taking place among individuals located at different geographical locations wasn’t rapid and advanced.

Messengers covering distance on their feet and riding on horses or 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 exchange of message from one point to another. There were many hurdles, hazards and physical limitations for exchanging message by these ways. Moreover, it was not assured that a message makes to its destination and person for which it is intended due to of potential interception.

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 Shivaji and his men did to convey messages that let them to excel in tactical communication? They might have used other entities, methods 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: Shivaji and his army fought many wars but the battle of Paawan Khind (Khind - a narrow passageway in mountainous terrain) became legendary in war history of Maratha Empire. Also, it’s really interesting to know that how Shivaji could send a crucial signal to his fighting men much quickly in that critical situation.

During the secret escape from Panhalgad (a mountainous fort situated near Kolhapur), he and some 600 soldiers headed towards Vishalgad (another mountainous fort) through thick forest at a night with full moon in sky. On their way, they eventually found that enemy troops were pursuing them and getting closer progressively. King Shivaji had to reach on Vishalgad at any cost so Bajiprabhu Deshpande (a legendary warrior) and few men decided stay at Paawan khind and fight with enemy. He kindly requested Shivaji and other men to keep moving towards Vishalgad safely.

With heavy heart, Shivaji had to keep moving on with his 300 committed men left behind to fight with some 3,000 enemy soldiers. Unlike other kings, the king was deeply concerned about those men who had decided to create barrier between him and enemy troops. After reaching at destination safely, Shivaji couldn’t waste time in attempt of saving lives of 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 fighting until he doesn’t reach at Vishalgad and fires few rounds of cannon as signal of his successful appearance at the destination. He asked his men to retreat immediately after hearing the sound. Why did he choose only cannons to send them the signal? Crisscrossing hills, forest and valleys were greatest barrier for visual signals. Hence only large and bustling sound could travel the distance and terrain much quickly. That was a true tactically nonverbal message!

Even though they were deeply wounded, Shivaji's gallantry soldiers kept fighting with high spirit until they heard the roaring sounds by firing cannons at Vishalgad. Finally, all 300 men including Bajiprabhu Deshpande scarified themselves happily to safeguard the great Maratha Empire.

Signals given by colored smoke: Shivaji conquered, built and repaired more than 300 forts as guarding posts of his vast empire that was constantly being spied, invaded and attacked by other empires. As forts were separated from each other over miles, sending audio signals reaching at destination quickly wasn’t possible. Hence he came up with an excellent idea. He ordered the men guarding forts to use smoke for sending signals among forts. 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: Easy to observe from a distance
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 of soldiers. 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 or a day, a message initiated from one fort could reach to another which was located hundreds or thousands miles away from first one.

Prescribed codes for bodily conduct: Shivaji asked his delegates, representatives and messengers to adopt 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 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 and intelligence personals. Shivaji was not only a brave Indian warrior to shape the sovereign empire but also a great visionary, engineer, entrepreneur and strategist to inspire many. He was openly appreciated and accredited by many world famous historians, travelers, politicians and academics.

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Side-way glance of interest

Where there's smoke, there's fire! This greatly applies to attraction and romance because spark in heart speaks silently by most in the beginning. However, the clues we try to obtain (or ignore) from potential or existing partner can either make us to stray into smoke of uncertainty or end up in perfect disaster (caught in fire!). 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 firm answer for. A recently conducted research claims that a glance gives away the clue or.

When a woman develops romantic or intimate feelings about man, she briefly glances at right side in presence of desired man frequently. She does so even if she finds complement given by 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 as compared men. Hence, it's widely utilized in television commercials by female 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 body and attack or defend by arm or 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 or wants to be romantic with. It perfectly complements with glancing done at right side by a woman. Man wants her woman to position 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 in good spirit. In contract, they tend to look away from each other when they are in troubled relationship, situation 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. Also watch this advertisement (in Hindi) in which famous model and Bollywood (Indian) actress Katrina Kaif glances briefly at right side almost twice in presence of the male model.


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