caste

Portuguese: casta, breed, race

A hereditary class of society as divided, among the Hindu peoples, by the laws of Brahminism. There are four principal castes: Brahmans or priests; Kshatiyas or warriors and rulers; Vaisyas or farmers and tradesmen; and Sudras or mechanics and laborers. Pariahs or outcasts have no caste. The Sudras consist of the non-Aryan races conquered by Aryans. The other three castes represent the Aryan races. Catholic missionaries permit the Hindu convert to retain the social distinctions of caste, a condition forbidden by Anglicans and other Protestants. The religious distinctions of caste form one of the principal obstacles to the spread of Christianity in India, being opposed to the principle that all souls are of equal value in the sight of God. Brahmans are the most difficult to convert, low castes and outcasts, the easiest.