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Starting with the British colonial Census of 1901 led by Herbert Hope Risley, all the jātis were grouped under the theoretical varnas categories.
Although caste systems exist in various regions, its paradigmatic ethnographic example is the division of Indian society into rigid social groups, with roots in India's ancient history and persisting until today.
In 2005, government recorded approximately 110,000 cases of reported violent acts, including rape and murder, against Dalits The socio-economic limitations of the caste system are reduced due to urbanization and affirmative action.
Nevertheless, the caste system still exists in endogamy and patrimony, and thrives in the politics of democracy, where caste provides ready made constituencies to politicians.
Scholars believe that the system of varnas was a theoretical classification envisioned by the Brahmins, but never truly operational in the society.
The practical division of the society had always been in terms of jātis (birth groups), which are not based on any specific principle, but could vary from ethnic origins to occupations.