Caste comes from a Portuguese word “casta” which was used by early traders to describe India’s complex class structure of varnas. The four major inherited varnas are the Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (kings, warriors), vaishyas (merchants), and shudras (craftsmen and servants). The term caste was also used to describe hundreds of sub-castes called jatis, literally birth-groups. The caste system distinctive to India governs religious, social, and economic interactions. This social structure, while hierarchical, is not inflexible; it has changed through time and continues to change today.