The caste system in India has evolved through phases. When the Aryans came to India, there was no social distinction among them. Basically they were divided into three social classes – the warriors, the priests and the common men. There was equality among them.
In Rig-Vedic period, the society came to be divided into four Varnas – Brahmins, Kshatriyas or Rajanyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. Such divisions came up on the basis of duties and professions. But there was no rigidity in inter-mixing among different Varnas.
With the passage of time these, professions grew hereditarily and assumed the shape of caste system. However, as a result of intermarriages amongst members of different castes, certain new castes also made their appearance in addition to four traditional castes. Due to intermarriage of high and low castes and new hereditary professions, few sub-castes also developed in Indian society.
By Amit Agarwal