Caste has come to be seen as a peculiar social institution of the traditional Indian/Hindu society. The chapter begins with an overview of the conceptual history of caste, followed by a brief discussion of the dynamics of its reproduction in contemporary times. In caste society, status as a principle of social organization was superior to power. Based on her study of a village in northern India, G. G. Raheja offered an alternative theory of caste and ritual practices, a theory that places ‘dominant caste’ at the centre of the caste system. The British colonial rulers not only produced theories about Indian society and its social order of caste but also operationalized those categories in their administrative discourses. Social anthropologists studying rural social and economic life began to report about declining traditional hierarchies and old structures of dependency, including the traditional structures of caste hierarchy, sometime in the early 1970s.