"Burkha & the Ability to Communicate"

"Burkha & the Ability to Communicate"
by: P.T. Choudary, Chairman IDEAz

Quotations for consideration:

  • "... there is a kind of confusion in your looks which you modesties have not craft enough to colour" - William Shakespeare

Key Concepts:

  • Humans have evolved a keen sense of perception and recognition of facial expressions which provide greater communication ability than just the words. Even an infant recognizes faces and expressions.
  • Words can lie but faces can’t.
  • Can one deny others the right to equitably assess the varacity of one’s words?

France and some of the other European Countries are banning the use of Burkha. This has led to strong reactions from the Fundamentalist Islamists as allegedly being against their religious tenets and a restriction of their rights to practice their religion as they deem fit. Though it is arguable whether at all the Quran intends for such coverage when it calls only for dressing modestly. Also the definition of modesty varies from time to time, place to place, culture to culture and context. What may be seen as modest on the beach or while participating in sports activities, may not be considered modest at a formal occasion.

However one major aspect, which has nothing to do with religion, of the wearing of the Burkha has escaped due consideration. This is of the effect it has on the ability of people to communicate properly with the Burkha wearer.

In Society, proper and unambiguous communication is essential for good relations and understanding.

Sociological studies have demonstrated beyond dispute that proper and unambiguous communication requires not only clarity in the spoken words, but also in an understanding of the tonal nuances and reading of facial expressions and of the body language. In fact it has been determined that the spoken word and tone conveys only about 35% of the total communication, with the facial expressions, especially around the eyes and mouths, conveying about 60% of the communication and the body language the rest. It is therefore evident that in order to properly understand a communication it is essential that one be not only able to hear the words and the tone that they are spoken in, but also clearly see the expression and body language that accompany such words.

Mr. Paul Ekman (see www.PaulEkman.com) trains people (Diplomats, Judges, Police, Business and other Negotiators, Teachers and other such Officials) to recognize micro expressions, emotional signals that flit across a face in less than a third of a second. Because these emotional signals are spontaneous and made unconsciously, they offer a clue as to how a person actually feels at that moment- despite whatever contrary impression she/he may be trying to project. Lies usually involve this sort of emotional deceptiveness demanding extra cognitive and emotional effort from neural circuitry and are reflected in involuntary micro expressions which can be recognized by the observer even if sub-consciously.

The Burkha or veil, and to an extent even goggles or sun glasses, deny the other person the opportunity to

Total votes: 0


Dear Tuhin I teach MBA students Business communication. This topic is well discussed and I introduce your article as CASE STUDY. Leaving aside the religious sentiment, it is better that all ladies should be able to express their opinion freely. I will send you later students comments Gp Capt HGR Dasari

Dear Dasari Sir, Thank you for going through my article and sending me your comments.Your students can read up about Mr. Ekman’s course for Law Enforcement personnel and Negotiators in how to detect lying from minute and microsecond facial expressions. Fredrick Forsyth’s book ‘Negotiator’ also tells of the value of expressions , in this case of the eyes. I do wonder if this is why the old Tamil Nadu politicians wear dark glasses.I look forward to your further comments.. P.T.

Dear Sir, This is one of the topic the int’l community do specially the critics do look at…happened to read through the same today…but i need to say that in all means you are absolutely correct….as when you are in rome you need to be a roman…that is my comment..but above it your detailed write up…is beyond my comments as it has the reality in itself…Thank you sir.. also i would appreciate if you could post something on the latest acts of ramdev and hazare in the name of fight against correction.

Dear Jerlin, Thank you for reading the articles and for your comments thereon.I am in the process of writing my views on the anti corruption campaign.I think that the objectives of both Anna Hazare & Swami Ramdev are too many and they are not very clear on how to execute them. Their recommendations will cause more confusion on the running of the Government and hence more damage to the country than they seem to understand. I think that a better option would be to amend the existing rules to make the concerned organizations more effective and to concentrate the major effort on ways to disqualify the wrong people from standing for election or, once elected and not performing satisfactorily, to recall them. The option of ‘none of the above’ at the time of election coupled with compulsory voting, and not allowing any charge sheeted individual to stand for election coupled with rules that call for suspension of Bureaucrats and officials against whom there are any allegations of corruption should be more effective. Ofcourse measures have to be taken to ensure fast track Courts to speedily resolve issues(3-6 months) and to suitably act against those who make false allegations. The article would cover all these points in more detail and will hopefully be posted shortly…. Best wishes.. P.T.

I have read the thoughts on the Burkha – I remember my University Exam Hall Ticket mentioning that “Burkhas and Wigs not allowed” I agree with the thoughts – Well analyzed and put forth. Now since 2001-2002 during there has been a rise in the assertiveness of the Mosques to register their presence or expansion in new neighborhoods. The Mullahs go out of the way to shout at the top of their voice at the highest decibel levels possible. This takes away a significant part of the sleep of elders at dawn. Society is held to ransom at the gun of Secularism. Is it not high time that religion is confined to ones homes and not used as an instrument to attempt to dominate others. no Islamic country has prayers on Loudspeakers except India, Pakistan & Bangladesh. Also on major National Highways after 6 laning also – have religious structures mostly Islamic in the middle of the lanes. This is not found in any Islamic country on earth except India. Muslims are expected to prove their allegiance and loyalty to the Motherland first and religion second. Come RAmzan the government of A.P has gone out of the way to provide uniterrupted power to Mosques. Also local concilers are spending government funds to provide Loudspeakers, Lighting and Decoration to these mosques at Indian taxpayers expense-a majority of who are not Muslims. Need thoughts on this. Sateesh S. Magal

Dear Sateesh, Thanks for your comments. Do read the article on “Democracy” which touches on the point you raised about religion being something to be practiced in personal & community spaces.Everything else has to be the same for all citizens especially in common spaces… Best Wishes.. P.T.

A genius He was the founder of the Republic of Turkey,and its first President. As a brilliant military leader he liberated Turkey after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. When he became the President of the newly found Republic, he made great efforts to modernize Turkey and ensure its place among modern nations. He died in 1938; the actual minute (9.05 am) of his death is still observed on 10 November each year with a moment’s silence.. His name Ataturk (Atta Turk) translates “Father of the Turks”. Kemal Ataturk achieved a lot for Turkey. He made a Muslim country (still a Muslim majority) into a secular one; banned all forms of Muslim dress. He replaced the arabic script with the Roman Script overnight – quite an ordeal for students in their final year of education and brought in English, French and Italian words into the Turkish language. He is still a cult figure in Turkey; with his bust in village and town squares and his portrait in offices. He was a genious in solving ticklish issues. He resolved the problem of women wearing burquas wisely. He decreed that Turkish women could wear whatever dress they wished but all prostitutes, by law, MUST wear a burqua. The problem went away the very next day.

Hi! Dileep, Thanks for your comments. You are referring to Kemal Ataturk. Perhaps we in India too could lay down the Burha as a compulsory dress for all prostitutes and get a similar response? You may also like to read the article “Strangers in our own Country” on this site. Best Wishes.. P.T.

appreciate your thoughts on equality. this needs to be practiced by all. deepak
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