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What was the first society/civilisation which started caste system in India and when did they start, and why was it even introduced into the society? What was that benefit or advantage of this system that it spread to the whole sub-continent?

Also, it is said that in initial times caste system wasn't very rigid, and it was possible for a person to change his/her caste then when did it become so rigid that changing of caste became almost impossible?

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    This might be a good place to start: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_India – brazofuerte May 29 '18 at 13:40
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    The wiki article @ukemi linked contains a lengthy history section; please reference it in your question and specify why you find it insufficient (comments are temporary, so clarifications should be edited into the body of the question itself). Also, please make your second paragraph into its own question, and specify what you meant by "initial times" - it's better for questions to be focused even if they're on the same broad subject. – Semaphore May 29 '18 at 14:34
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    I lack time to research sources for a proper answer but remember the following from an Indian History course at Cambridge years ago. 'Caste' may mean 'varna' (the broad categories like Brahmin) or 'jati', a more particular group that determines specifics like what you can eat, wear or do for a living and who you can marry or share a meal with. The varnas are very ancient and in the very earliest Vedic Sanskrit refer to the distinction between the Aryans (lighter skinned Indo-European speaking conquerors) and darker skinned possibly Dravidian speaking earlier inhabitants – Timothy May 31 '18 at 17:43
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    Further to previous comment there is evidence that the caste system historically was more flexible than admitted. There was no absolute consensus on how the castes ranked and some castes that prospered or were favoured by rulers quietly moved up the ranking a little. A successful conqueror might even insist that he and his followers be given a higher caste status. Also, although we have first or second hand accounts written by Greeks or Romans who reached India, none of them mention 'caste' distinctions so perhaps they were less pronounced then. – Timothy May 31 '18 at 17:50
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    Downvote because the question does not address preliminary research and for discussion in comments. I will upvote if revised to address those issues – Mark C. Wallace Nov 28 '19 at 17:47

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