Changes in Caste System in Medieval Times

  • Caste system shifted its focus from the varna system to the Jatis. Jatis replaced varna and became the basis for ordering society.
  • New castes emerged among the Brahmanas.
  • Among Kshatriyas, many groups belonging to various lineages like Hunas, Chandelas, Chalukyas etc. came to be regarded as Rajputs. These Rajputs gradually replaced the older rulers, especially in agricultural areas.
  • Specialised artisans like smiths, carpenters and masons etc were recognised as separate jatis by Brahmanas.
  • Many tribes and social groups were taken into caste-based society and given the status of jatis. However, only the elites of such tribal families could join the ruling class. Ex. Gonds etc. A large majority of tribals joined the lower jatis in caste hierarchy.
  • However, dominant tribes in Punjab, Sindh and North-West Frontier adopted Islam. They rejected the caste system. Hierarchical Caste system was not accepted in these areas.
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