- Brahmin - priests
- Kshatriya - warrior, ruler, politician, administrative worker
- Vaishya - trader, merchant, farmer
- Shudra - peasant, servant
- "Untouchables", or dalits - came much later after the other four groups and consisted of people who swept ashes after cremations or who tanned animals' skins.
There are also castes in some countries other than India. Now the caste system is illegal because it is seen to be racist discrimination.
Last year eighteen people were killed due to violent protests against the system.
In the past Dalits have been punished for letting their shadows lay on the people that are higher in society than themselves.