Jātis (in Devanagari: जाति) (the word literally means "births") is the term used to denote communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Hindu society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function, although religious beliefs (e.g. Sri Vaishnavism or Veera Shaivism) or linguistic groupings define some jatis. A person's surname typically reflects a community (jati) association: thus "Gandhi" = greengrocer, "Dhobi" = washerman, "Srivastava" = military scribe, etc. In any given location in India 500 or more jatis may co-exist, although the exact composition will differ from district to district.

Many jātis found today in India could fit into one varna (occupation categorization) or another as described in Hinduism, similar to communities of old that had fit into a varna. This indicates that Hindu society since pre-historic times had a very complex economy. One non-sacred text, the Laws of Manu, c. 200, codified the social relations between communities although this book was never followed by any society since it was much less important than the sacred Hindu texts of the Vedas.

It is believed that the jāti system ossified from an original occupation-based classification into a hereditary classification.

Jātis of Varnas

Originally, the jāti was effectively a system similar to guilds, and was associated with occupation. For example, as a general rule goldsmiths, carpenters and barbers form separate communities. Most communities with a significant number of members are divided into sub-communities. The development of sub-communities could arise because of these reasons:

* Geographical separation: For example purabia (eastern) or pachchaia (western) sections of some communities
* Variation in standards of conduct: For example, disagreements over the permissibility of widow marriages caused some communities to subdivide.

In several cases, merging of sub-communities have been recorded. A "jāti" could originally change their occupation and thus association with a varna. Marriages would occur usually within one's community, or sometimes between communities.

At one time there was considerable interest in relative ranking of communities (jātis). There are several ways ranking can be done.
# By public reputation of the community in a region
# By wealth and influence
# Food relationship: Members of a lower community will accept water-based (kachcha) food prepared by members of a higher community.

A consequence of the 3rd rule was that Brahmins were often employed as cooks. The rule was often not applicable if the food items are dry (e.g. roasted grains) or cooked with oil/ghee (pakka).

There are now several thousand communities and sub-communities in India. A jāti is defined by the mutual interaction among the members of the community. The two most common bonds are:
# "Roti" (bread): dining together.
# "Beti" (daughter): intermarrying together.



Those from North or Eastern India
*Bengali Brahmins
*Dadhich Brahmin
*Gaur Brahmin
*Gouda Saraswat Brahmins
* Kanyakubja Brahmins
*Kashmiri Pandits
*Khandelwal Brahmins
*Kota Brahmins
*Kulin Brahmins
*Maithili Brahmins
* Mohyal Brahmins
*Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins
*Sanadhya Brahmins
*Saraswat Brahmins
*Saryupareen Brahmins
* Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins
*Shrimali Brahmins


Living in Dakshinapatha (including Gujarat)
*Bardai Brahmins
*Chitpavan Brahmins (Konkanasth)
*Dhima Brahmins
*Koota Brahmins
* Havyaka Brahmins
*Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins
*Iyers, Iyengar (Vadakalai Thenkalai )
*Kandavara Brahmins
*Kannada Brahmins
*Karhade Brahmins
*Koteshwara Brahmins
*Nagar Brahmins
*Namboothiri (Namboodiri, Namboodiripad, Bhatathiripad)
*Padia Brahmins
*Saklapuri Brahmins
*Sankethi Brahmins
* Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins
*Sthanika Brahmins
*Telugu Brahmins (Vaidiki, Niyogi)
*Tuluva Brahmins


*Bunt (Tulu Nadu region)
*Nambiar (Nair)


*kamma kapu
*nagarathar chettia



ee also

*Forward Castes
*Backward Castes


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