In the 11th century, the term “rajaputra” appeared as a non-hereditary designation for royal officials. Gradually, the Rajputs emerged as a social class comprising people from a variety of ethnic and geographical backgrounds. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the membership of this class became largely hereditary, although new claims to Rajput status continued to be made in the later centuries. Several Rajput-ruled kingdoms played a significant role in many regions of central and northern India until the 20th century.
Large-scale land grants and related economic changes led to the evolution of social structure broadly characterized by a sizeable number of intermediaries and a large body of impoverished peasantry. The Samantas and the ruling landed aristocracy irrespective of their social origins emerged as a distinctive group.
Bramans were the majority in this group and focused on management of land.Kayasthas, traders and members of the rich dominant peasantry were also conferred titles such as ranaka, nayaka etc. as and when they joined the upper section of the society and ruling landed elite.
The shudras were getting transformed into cultivators as a result of the expansion of agricultural settlements, thereby coming closer to the vaishyas. The vaishyas practically lost their identity as peasant caste.