Shudra (शूद्र) is one of the four varnas or social categories found in India.
Mention by Panini
In ancient Indian texts
The word Shudra appears only once in the Rig veda but is found in other sources such as the Manusmriti, Arthashastra and Dharmashastras.
Theoretically, Shudras have constituted the hereditary labouring class serving others but in reality they have shared occupations with other varnas, including being traders and warriors. In some cases, they participated in the coronation of kings, or were ministers and kings according to early Indian texts.
Shudra (शूद्र) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.47.7), (II.48.32),(VI.10.46), (VI.10.65), (VIII.30.53),
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.77
- Varadaraja V. Raman (2006). "Hinduism". In Elizabeth M. Dowling & W. George Scarlett. Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development. SAGE Publications. doi:10.4135/9781412952477.n114. ISBN 978-0761928836. pp. 200-204.
- Thapar, Romila (2004), Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, University of California Press, ISBN 9780520242258, p.63
- Ghurye, G. S. (1969) [first published 1932], Caste and Race in India (Fifth ed.), Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7154-205-5,p.15-16
- Ram Sharan Sharma (1990). Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 60–61, 192–200, 261-267 with footnotes. ISBN 978-81-208-0706-8.
- Richard Gombrich (2012). "Chapter 8. Caste in the Monastery". Buddhist Precept & Practice. Routledge. pp. 343–357. ISBN 978-1-136-15616-8.; According to Gombrich's study of Buddhist texts, particularly relating to castes in Sri Lankan Buddhist and Tamil Hindu society, "The terms Vaisya and Sudra did not correspond to any clear-cut social units, even in the ancient period, but various groups were subsumed under each term (...); In medieval times (say AD 500-1500) though society was still said to consist of the four classes, this classification seems to have become irrelevant (...)"
- Naheem Jabbar (2009). Historiography and Writing Postcolonial India. Routledge. pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-1-134-01040-0.
- Ram Sharan Sharma (1990). Śūdras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A.D. 600. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 54–61, 267-268 with footnotes. ISBN 978-81-208-0706-8.