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The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as "jĝtis" or jaati or castes. Within a jaat or jĝti, there exist exogamous groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individual, although in a handful of sub-castes like Shakadvipi, endogamy within a gotra is permitted and alternative mechanisms of restricting endogamy are used (e.g. banning endogamy within a surname).

Sikhism teaches one not to discriminate on basis of caste, sect, . No importance is to be given to the person's tribal group or ancestry; all must be accepted as the same. The Guru says, Recognize the Lord's Light in all, don't ask their caste or race; there are no class or caste in the world hereafter. (1)(Pause). When the Panj Pyare were baptised in 1699, each of the five was from a different sect or caste. The Sikh Gurus did not allow any discrimination based on caste or sect or cults; Everyone was treated the same irrespective of their jaat or caste.

Although Jaat is generally identified with Hinduism, the caste system was also observed among followers of other religions in the Indian subcontinent, including some groups of Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. Although the Sikh Gurus preached vigorously against discrimination based on caste, this practise has not yet been eliminated in this faith. Due to the cultural influence of the society in India, many Sikhs with Indian background still continue to follow the old cultural practises from the Indian subcontinent.

The Indian Constitution has outlawed caste-based discrimination, in keeping with the socialist, secular, democratic principles that founded the nation. Caste barriers have mostly broken down in large cities, though they persist in rural areas of the country, where 72% of India's population resides. Nevertheless, the caste system, in various forms, continues to survive in modern India strengthened by a combination of social perceptions and divisive politics