European Journal of Sociology

In quest of political participation

Closed Social Stratification in India

F. G. Bailey

I can distinguish four separate referents of ‘caste’ in India. I) Caste as varna. There are four (sometimes five) varna (‘colour’) in India, and in order of ranking these are, as everyone knows, Brahmans or priests, Ksattriyas or warriors, Vaisyas or men of commerce, and Sudras who are workmen. These varna are not groups but categories. They are not exhaustive, since some of the population (e.g. such non-Hindus as Muslims or Tribals, and the Untouchables of Hinduism itself) do not fall within the four categories.