Lt.Col. Md. Moazzem Hossain*
Abstract: It is apparent that, the customs of ancient armies of the Bengal have the augmenting influences in the formation of military ethos of Bangladesh Armed Forces. Size of armies, logistics, transport, strategic and tactical mobility, siege craft, artillery, staff organization, military training and weaponry were reported to be erudite during the ancient period. The ancient armies of Bengal attained substantial standard in almost every one of these capabilities. The organization, ethos, and capabilities of Armed Forces of the ancient dynasties contributed towards modernizing today’s armed forces in the independent Bangladesh. Strong foundation of today’s Army was laid down at the time of ancient Bengal. Gradual development of weapon and warfare, strategy and tactics adopted by those Armed Forces during the period also endures the legacy of glorious past.
Keywords: Armed Forces, Sovereignty, Patriotism, Dynamics, Ancient Bengal.
“In 327 B.C. this force, consisting of a huge army of infantry backed by horses and elephants, stopped Alexander’s advance on the bank of Beas River. Alexander’s troops begged him not to fight these Gangaridae, these people of the lower Ganges, who according to Ptolemy lived at the delta of the Ganges in what is now Bangladesh. Retreating without giving battle to this superior force, Alexander left India never to return. Thus ended the first phase of Bangladesh’s history… What is important is that Bangladesh entered Western history as a victor.”–James J. Novak (Novak, 1994)
That is the glorious past of ancient Bangladesh Army. By maintaining this continuity similar heroism was displayed by Bangladesh Armed Forces like their predecessor in our Liberation War. Bangladesh Armed Forces were born as “People’s Army” during our war of liberation. Today Bangladesh Armed Forces are modern entities. But it has got gradual evolutional history from ancient times. The traditions of ancient armies of the Bengal have the underpinning effects of formation of military ethos of Bangladesh Armed Forces. The conventional military history, as opined by Stephen P. Cohen, usually confines itself to the study of warfare per se and to organizational problems, and the perspective of such an approach is relatively narrow. Therefore to trace out the complete history of any army analysis of its own socio- cultural – political environment is indispensable. Arnold Toynbee is also in the same opinion of Cohen as he said in the context of cultural origins of war ‘the secret of the West’s superiority to the rest of the world in the art of war from the 17th century onward is not to be found just in Western weapons, drill, and military training (Stephen, 1971).
It cannot be understood without also taking into account the whole mind and soul of the Western Society of the day and the truth is that the Western art of war has always been one facet of Western way of life.’ Therefore, though Alfred Cobban rightly pointed out, “historians and sociologists are natural enemies”, the blending of history and sociology is sine qua non to explain the development of army in ancient Bengal. The history of ancient Bengal is a rather drab story of endemic warfare between rival dynasties and incessant foreign invasions. It is also evident that intense militarism was key to the survival. Army was the only means of domination from village to the centre. It was intricately linked with foreign policy. Therefore there were lot of effort to develop weapons and techniques of warfare. From ancient time (1500 B.C to 100 A.D.) there occurred a genuine revolution in most aspects of people’s social existence and organization as well as in military warfare.
The military revolution made it felt in a number of key areas of military development. All of which had the cumulative effect of changing the scope and scale of war. Among the more important developments of this period were changes in the size of armies, logistics, transport, strategic and tactical mobility, siege craft, artillery, staff organization, military training and weaponry. The ancient armies of Bengal in its primordial time attained substantial standard in almost every one of these capabilities. In this context, this paper will discuss the origin and development of armies from ancient time till A.D.1204. The organization, ethos, and capabilities of Armed Forces of the ancient dynasties will be also discussed in a sequential manner. As the roots of the present lay in the past therefore this voyages of discovery into the past is made to the understanding of the present as well as to search for the origin and ancestral route of the ancient armies of the Bengal. Effort is also made to discuss about the gradual development of weapon and warfare, strategy and tactics adopted by those Armed Forces during the period under consideration. The core hypothesis of this paper is to trace out the genesis and gradual development of Armed Forces in ancient Bengal.
Armed Forces and Socio – Cultural – Political Dynamics in Ancient Bengal
“A nation’s history has three stages: success; then as a consequence of success, arrogance and injustice; and then, as a consequence of these Downfalls” — Herodotus (Toynbee, 1953)
The understanding of early societies will lead us to find out the linear history of formation of chiefdoms, kingdoms, empire and well organized state. This linear history will also give us the idea of organization and development of military history. The necessity of a standing army was felt when there was departure from chiefdom to kingdom. Centralized standing army was prerequisite to found as well as sustained an empire. In fact soldiering as a profession, with the need for a standing army, began to surface as feature of the monarchical state from the time of Ajatsatru, the son of Bimbisara, of Magadha after his accession to throne in about 493 B.C. He revolutionized Maghadhan military technology by inventing two new weapons as well as formation of standing army with the full time profession as soldiering to fulfill his dream to found an empire.
To get a good insight, we may categories early societies as hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, peasants and townsmen. The departure from one stage to another will lead us to understanding of complex evolutionary process of socio-politico-economic landscape of the time under consideration. As the name implies, hunter-gatherers subsisted by hunting animals for food and other requirements, and by foraging for edible plants. Breeding animals or growing crops were not part of their activity. So they were distinct from pastoralists and peasants. They were organized in small bands, sometimes constituted of a few families, and were unfamiliar with matters of status distinction or social organization beyond the family or a larger group linked through kinship.
They used the forest and the scrublands as their resource. Such groups could therefore live in isolation. But when the cultivators from nearby villages or the neighbouring state began to clear forests for cultivation, the existing hunter-gatherers understandably resorted to a ferocious defence of the territory. Villagers were also liable to raids from neighbouring village, or from the wild tribesmen of hill and jungle. Therefore village headman was responsible for defence of the village and presumably maintained army. There are many ‘hero-stones’ recording the death of village warrior while defending the cattle or village is found all over the India including Bengal. The weapons used in these feuds were probably the same as used to fight ferocious animals in the jungle.
We also find mention of forest-dwellers in the ancient literatures. They were not confined to being hunter –gatherers only. Some were shifting cultivators, or were horticulturalists, and some practiced sedentary cultivation. Their societies were organized in clans and the larger unit was the tribe. Social hierarchy received little attention and generally the differentiation was only between the chief, who had the highest status, and the other clansman. Status and bonding based on kinship relations were more common. They had a preference for living in forests and used limited technology. In the Arthasastra of Kautilya we find six types of troops which consists ancient army, one of them is Atavi, forest troops commanded by their clan chief used mainly for jungle and guerrilla warfare. Kautilya also advised the king not to trust forest-chiefs and treat them with hostility. From the mid-first millennium A.D., onwards there were references to the uprooting of forest-dwellers, or to their conquest or assimilation becoming necessary to the foundation of new kingdoms.
Encroachments were doubtless intensified from this period with clearing forests for cultivation or cutting routes through them. However, confrontations between forest-dwellers and migrating peasants, or with the armies of a kingdom, would result – if the former were overcome by the latter – in the conversion of the former to caste society. Pastoralists in the sub-continent were of different categories than central Asia as opined by Romila Thapar. Some pastoralists were nomadic; their circuits varying in distance, while others were semi-sedentary, occasionally practicing minimal agriculture as well. Mechanism of pastoral societies was based on a system of exchange that brought them into contact with cultivators and others. Hence, the preference for the term agro-pastoralism registers the presence of agriculture even in predominantly pastoral societies. Pastoral circuits encouraged possibilities of migration and the exploration of new grazing grounds, and therefore involved the history of the movements of peoples.
Pastoral societies generally had a fairly conventional organization, with marginal variations. The family formed the core and patrilineal descent was often traced from a common ancestor. Charisma grew out of defending the clan when attacked. The clan was relatively egalitarian with a sharing of the produce, although a better and bigger share was collected by the chief. Where herds were acquired through raids, as described in the Rig-Veda, the clan chief had to be a successful raider to retain his status. A group of clans constituted tribes. The creation of a tribe could be occasioned by political needs when searching for new pastures or attacking sedentary societies.
Societies with a strong clan organization or those determined by lineage identity were frequently chiefdoms; this could be small and simple or could be larger confederacies. The change from chiefdom to a kingdom, or the emergence of a state, with its attendant characteristics of the concentration of political power, rudimentary administration, revenue and other such changes, was usually accompanied by a greater reliance on peasant agriculture. Peasants played an important role to the formation of a state as producers of food and providers of revenue.
There was considerable interaction between pastoralists and peasants, unlike the societies of hunter-gatherers and others. Pastoralists generally had and continue to have a symbiotic relationship with agriculturalists. The change from the categories of hunter-gatherers to pastoralism to agriculture involved using a decreasing area of land, but an increasingly more intensive use of the land. Whereas in the earlier two categories the landscape remained substantially unchanged, agriculture required clearing and cultivation. If the clearing was on a part of the grazing grounds or forested areas there could be confrontations between the societies living in each.
Peasants, unlike other categories, were sedentary and permanent occupants of the land they cultivated, and the cultivation was not dispersed. This made them less autonomous than pastoralists. Peasants generally have had subordinate status in social hierarchies. They were not more frequently identified by castes, which were distinct from clans as they were generally not kin-related, nor did they necessarily own resources in common. Peasant’s societies were of various kinds, with differentiation of status based on ownership or arrangements regarding tenure with either superior owners or the state.
Peasant’s agriculture was also a necessary precondition of the formation of states and the evolution of cities, since it could produce the agricultural surplus to maintain populations that were not tied to producing their food. Apart from claiming a demarcated territory, the state had legal authority over the population and resources, was sovereign in governing and exercised power through a hierarchy of administration. The institution of the state such as the treasury, the administrative structure, the focus of power encapsulated in the army or in system of coercion, was concentrated in the capital which was generally the most important town.
Culture refers to the pattern of life of a society, so there are multiple kinds of cultures. Such pattern would include the use made of the habitual environment, social relations, language and ritual. The historically more germane questions focus on processes of acculturation, the evolution of social forms and the emergence varying ideologies. In fact osmosis of cultures shapes the history. Rigvedic-indus valley rituals still we are practicing. Typologies of cultures were earlier made on the basis of the tools used by human groups. These were largely of stone, changing from the older and larger tools of the palaeolithic to the smaller ones of the Mesolithic, and the polished ones of the Neolithic, to the use of both stone and metal in the chalcolithic. We have found evidences of all these cultures except the Paleolithic in the recent excavation in Wari – Bateswar by Oitihya – Onneswan.
There are clearly many sources of information on the beginnings of Indian history. Archaeological evidence is chronologically more precise, but cannot be used to identify any culture as ‘Aryan’ since archaeology, in the absence of a script, cannot supply information on a language. Unfortunately, the Harappan script remains undeciphered. The theory of an Aryan invasion no longer has credence. The Rig-Veda refers to skirmishes between groups, some among those who identify themselves as aryas and some between the aryas and dasas.
The more acceptable theory is that groups of Indo – Aryan speakers gradually migrated from the Indo – Iranian borderlands and Afghanistan to northern India, where they introduced language. Indo – Aryan also incorporated elements of Dravidian and Munda, languages known only to the Indian subcontinent. The incorporation increases in the texts composed in locations eastwards into the Ganges Plain. These points are a considerable intermixing of the speakers of these languages. According to Romila Thapar the sequence of events seem to have been as follows:
The cities of the Indus civilization had declined by the mid – second millennium B.C., and the economic and administrative system slowly petered out, the emphasis shifting to rural settlements. It was probably around this period that the Indo – Aryan speakers entered the north – west of India from the Indo – Iranian borderlands, migrating in small numbers through the passes in the north – western mountains to settle in northern India. Small – scale migration have the advantage of not being dramatically disruptive and these could have started even earlier, although the cultural differences would have been registered only after the decline of the Harappan cities. Although archaeological confirmation of textual information is not possible, there are no strikingly large settlements in the area during this period. Textual sources suggest that initial settlements were in the valleys of the north – west and the plains of the Punjab, later followed by some groups moving to the Indo – Gangetic watershed. Such continuous small – scale migrations may have followed earlier pastoral circuits. The search was for pastures and some arable land, as they were mainly cattle – keeping people. Myths in the Avesta refer to repeated migrations from lands in Iran to the Indus area, explaining these migrations arising from a pressure on the land through an increase in human and animal numbers. The Rig – Veda suggests the close proximity of other peoples inhabiting the area” (Thapar, 2002)
Chalcolithic cultures practiced agriculture, so there would have been a combining of agriculturalists and pastoralists, some pre – existing and some arriving. But for agriculture to be extended, the clearing of land was required.
India, during 600 B.C., was divided into a number of independent states. Most of these states were monarchical but quite a large number of them had republican or oligarchic constitutions. The Buddhist texts mentioned about ten such republican or oligarchic states. Very little is known about the socio-political and military history of these states except Sakyas and the Lichchhavis. Besides, there were monarchical states called the mahajanapadas. Both Buddhist and Jaina texts mention sixteen such states though they differ in their names. Magadha was one of the most important states of those janapadas. Later, it became the most powerful state and ushered the age of big empires in India. Bengal was part of this empire. (Map 3 RT). In fact it is probable that Bengal was mostly peopled by the descendants of the early citizens of Mgadah.
In ancient times, the area now known as Bangladesh was the eastern portion of a huge river delta region called Bang, where the confluence of Ganges and Brahmaputra River entered into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. The region became known as Bengal in more modern times. The oldest surviving remains of this civilization are the ruins of the city of Wari –Bateswar(450 B.C.), (the ancient Sonagoura as claimed by Dilip Chakrabarty and Gangaridae by Habibullah Pathan) , which continued to flourish for more than 200 years until it was annexed by the Maurya empire around 400 B.C. From this time onward, the history of Bengal was part of the wider historical experience of the Indian subcontinent.
It was probably around 1500 B. C., Aryans started pouring into Indian subcontinent from their homeland in central Asia in small groups. After 500 years of their initial migration probably around 1000 B.C. the Bang tribe of the Dravidian stock was pushed out of their original home(Magadah) by the Aryan expansionists. But they faced fierce resistance from this Bang tribe. One such resistance worth mentioning here is that the two great heroes of the Dwapara yuga, who are said to have been the sworn enemies of Sri Krisna – the great upholder of Brahmanic power, were Jarasandha, the king of Magadha and Poundraka Vasu Deva, the king of Pandua in Bengal, and both of them led expeditions to Dwaraka to subvert the power of Krisna. DC Senp1 (Heitzman and Worden, 1989). The local tribal societies in spite of their superior civilizations could not unite against the Aryans who invaded village after village and drove them towards south.
Aryans had not only the advantage of better weapons but they were also better strategists. The superiority of the Aryans lay in the military field, in which their use of light horse – chariot played a prominent part. The Bangs migrated towards the south-east and settled in the delta region of the Ganges and Brahmaputra. In the Aitareya Brahma, the people of Pundra tribe are called dasyu, clearly non-Aryan or Drabir. It was only during the Gupta rule around the A.D.400 that Aryanization fully penetrates Bangla. There are two schools of opinion regarding the political evolution of ancient Bengal. According to one school, the Bangladesh region in the ancient period was an integral part of mighty empires in north India. These historians maintain Gangaridai and Prasioi empires were succeeded by the Bimbisara (544-493 B.C.), the Nandas (364-324 B.C.), the Mauryas ( 400-200 B.C.), the Guptas (A.D. 400-500), the empire of Sasanka (A.D. 700), the Pala empire (A.D. 750-1162), and the Senas (Amiya, 1993)
Specially, the Pala Empire which lasted for more than four hundred years and reached its zenith in eighth and ninth centuries under the leadership of Dharmapala and Devapala is cited as an example of Bengal’s political genius. The revisionist historians are of the opinion that the traditional interpretation overstates the role of all-India empires in the political life of the Bangladesh region. They maintain that epigraphic evidence suggests that only some of the areas which now constitute Bangladesh were occasionally incorporated in the larger empires of South Asia. In their view, political fragmentation and not empire was the historical destiny of Bangladesh region in the ancient times. Inscriptions attest to the existence of a succession of independent kingdoms in southern and eastern Bengal (Riyazu, 1902).
The rise of Magadha started with accession of throne by the King Bimbisara (544-493 B.C.). Afterwards, they emerged a new dynasty namely Nanda dynasty (364-324 B.C.). Nanda’s were the first non- Kshatriyas dynasty. They are also consider as a first empire builder in the India. RomiT 37. Their rule ended with the capture of throne by the Chandra Gupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty. He conquered all most all the parts of northern India, establishing an empire from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. The military and civil administration envisaged by his National Security Adviser Kautilya in his book Arthasastra formed the basis of statecraft for the subsequent empires and even today.
After the downfall of Maurya empire north India remained politically divided till the rise of the Gupta empire.[i] The period of the Gupta’s rule has been regarded as one of the most glorious periods of Indian history. It is also glorious to the Bengal as historians opined that Gupta rulers hailed from Bengal. sharma181. After the fall of the Imperial Guptas northern India broke up into multitudinous small states. By taking this opportunity the first kingdom of Samatata or Vanga, comprising roughly the southern and eastern, as well as a part of western Bengal, was founded in the first half of the A.D.600. Six copper-plates have preserved the names of three kings of this line, Gopacandra, Dharmaditya and Samacaradeva, but very little is known about them. MOM3-4.
The second independent kingdom that arose on the ruins of the Gupta empire was the kingdom of Gauda under Later Guptas till the reign of Mahasenagupta who flourished towards the close of the A.D. 600. According to R.C. Majumdar it is unlikely that Later Gupta king directly administered the territory. The probability is that it was ruled by a local chief who acknowledged their suzerainty. RCM58. But by sometime before A.D.606 Sasanka, an indigenous Bengali, succeeded in supplanting the Later Guptas and founded an independent kingdom comprising north and west Bengal as well as Magadha, with the capital at Karnasuvarna. The death of Sasanka (may be after 619 or very shortly before A.D. 637) proved to be a political disaster of the first magnitude. It is difficult to reconstruct, even in outline, the political history of Bengal after the death of Sasanka. However, the available evidences seem to indicate that not only were the dreams of a far-flung Gauda empire rudely shattered, but within a few years his vast dominions and its component parts formed separate independent states. This gave the required opportunity for foreign invasions. Internal disorganisation and invasions from abroad characterised the history of Bengal and anarchy and chaos reigned supreme. Bengal was torn between internal dissensions and the rivalry of local rulers (Barthorp, 1979).
The condition of Bengal towards the middle of the A.D. 800, before the rise of Gopala, found mention in the Pala records as a state of matsyanyaya. The natural reaction to the matsyanyaya was the selection or election of Gopala as the king. This selection of Gopala is epoch-making as it ended the matsyanyaya on the one hand, and on the other laid the foundation of a dynasty which ruled Bengal for over four centuries. With the death of Mahipala I the Pala empire in Bengal and Bihar entered its last phase. The history of next hundred years or so is characterised by gradual decline and disintegration, caused by both external pressure and internal weakness. By the middle of the A.D. 1200 the Palas lost their prominent position in the affairs of Bengal.
In the second half of the A.D. 700 the Khadgas held sway over south-eastern Bengal, with their seat of government in the Dhaka-Faridpur region. P147 MOM. In the Tippera-Noakhali region the families of Lokanatha and Sridharana Rata held as semi-independent feudatories. In the last quarter of the A.D. 700 The Khadgas seem to have spread their influence in the Samatata(Tippera-Noakhali) area, where Lokanatha and Sridharana ruled . The Devas may have succeeded the Khadgas in this area sometime in the first half of the A.D. 800. There are references in various sources about the existence of Bhadra dynasty at the same period of Khadgas. Some scholars have even attempted to show the identity of the Bhadras with the Khadga kings of the Bengal. P. L Paul has even suggested that the Bhadras and the Khadgas ruled in eastern Bengal at the same time. In view of the casual references in the different sources the existence of Bhadra dynasty is not unlikely, but we know nothing definite about them. MOM 141. On the otherhand, the Tibetan monk Lama Taranatha speaks of a Candra dynasty in Vanga from about A.D. 600-800. But this has yet to be corroborated by any other reliable source (Bangladesh Army, 1988).
Deva rulers were succeeded by another line of kings namely the Kings of Harikela in the A.D. 900. It is quite likely that the kingdom of Harikela comprised the modern districts of Barisal, Noakhali, Comilla, Faridpur and Dhaka. They were replaced by the Candras who held subordinate position to Harikela king before gaining full independent position. This Buddhist dynasty ruled south-eastern Bengal from c.900 to c.1050. This dynasty were connected with the Candra dynasty of Arakan. They seem to have held sway over Gauda and Kamrupa. But two foreign invasions, of the Cola king Rajendra Cola and the Kalacuri king Karna seriously impaired their strength.
Taking this opportunity Palas extended their suzarinity over south-eastern Bengal. But the Pala interregnum was short-lived and in the last quarter of the A.D. 1100 the Varmans, taking advantage of the Kaivarta revolt, established their independent rule in south-eastern Bengal. Towards the close of the A.D. 1100 Bengal saw the emergence of another dynasty – the Senas, who possibly found the opportunity of gaining a position for themselves in western Bengal when the Pala Empire was shaken by the revolt of the Samantacakra during the reign of Mahipala II.
But it was not till the reign of Madanapala that they could assume an independent position, and thereafter they gradually supplanted the Varmans in south-eastern Bengal and pushed out the Palas from northern and western Bengal to southern Bihar, where they maintained a tottering existence till their end in the second half of the A.D. 1200. It was the Senas who could claim the paramount of the whole of Bengal for the first time in its history. Their rule ended with the invasion by Bakhtyar in 1204 A.D., with him Turkish Muslims came for the first time in Bengal (Rounaq, 1972).
The core of the army in the ancient Bengal was the spirit of unity and patriotism. The substance of the Bengal army, and most other armies in the world, were the infantry, or foot soldiers. Armies in the ancient Bengal earned reputation as it was originated based on socio-political and cultural dynamics. Ancient Bengal Armies did not simply rush out onto the battlefield; there were commanders who carefully put their massive armies in intricate formations. Despite limited structural excellence, Armed Forces of the ancient dynasties brought about discipline and integrity in their words and actions. It is praiseworthy that, today’s modern armed forces in the independent Bangladesh are the result of ancient Bengal where the foundation was laid aptly.
Amiya. Sen. (1993), Hindu Revivalism in Bengal 1872–1905: Some Essays in Interpretation. Oxford University Press, New York
Arnold. Toynbee. (1953), The World and the West, Oxford University Press, New York
Bangladesh Army, Library of Congress Country Studies assessment of Bangladesh Army, Dhaka, 1988
Barthorp. Michael. (1979), Indian Infantry Regiments, 1860–1914. Osprey Publishing, India
James Heitzman and Robert L.Worden. (1989), Early History, 1000 B. C.-A. D. 1202″. Bangladesh: A country study. Library of Congress, India
James J. Novak. (1994), BANGLADESH Reflections on the Water, University Press Limited, Dhaka
Riyazu. S. Salatin. (1902), A History of Bengal, The Asiatic Society, Calcutta, India
Rounaq. Jahan. (1972), Pakistan: Failure in National Integration, Columbia University Press, USA
Stephen P. Cohen. (1971), The Indian Army, its Contribution to the Development of a Nation, Oxford University Press, India
Thapar. Romila. (2002), The Penguin History of Early India from the Origins to A.D. 1300, Penguin Books, New Delhi
* Director Security, Chittagong Port Authority, Chittagong
 Sharma. Sixteen Janapadas listed in the Buddhist texts are those of Anga, Magadah, the Virjji confederacy and the Mallas in the middle Ganges Valley; Kashi, Kosala and Vatsa to its west; Kuru, Panchala, Matsya and Shurasena further west; Kamboja and Gandhara in north – west; Avanti and Chedi in western and central India.
 There are many theories about the origin of the name Banga or Bangla. Some linguists believe that the name originates from the Tibetan word, “Bans” which means wet or moist and Banga (Bengal) is a wet country criss – crossed by thousand rivers and washed by monsoons and floods from the Himalayas. Some others believe that the name originated from the Bodo (original Asamese in North Eastern India) “Bang La” which means wide plains. This theory is extremely plausible. Another school suggests the name comes from the name of Prince Banga. According to legend, Prince Banga, the son of King Bali and Queen Sudeshna of the Lunar dynasty was the first to colonise Bangla. ‘Banga’ has been mentioned in Jaina books and in Vedas. The suffix ‘al’ is a Sanskrit word meaning raised mounds and the Aryans used the word Bangal to mean the territory where the Bang tribes used to live in the Vedic era.
 The Aryan community was divided into three distinct groups designated as Brahmins, Kshatryas and Vaishyas. Each group had definite duties towards the community and they complement each other. This probably marked the first instance of military – mosque – king nexus. Brahmins were the philosophers and guide of the whole community. Kshatriyas were professional soldiers. Each and every man belonging to this group specialized in using different kinds of weapons that were in existence in those days and also invented new kinds of weapons which were more effective than the existing ones. They had no other duty but to fight the enemies of the community and protect the other two groups – the Brahmins and the Vaishyas from all dangers.