These groups did not use varna categories, but engaged in the same
  strategies of social ranking, which eased mobility and communication
  across cultural boundaries.
  Where Muslims were poor, as were Muslim peasants in rural East Bengal
  or Muslim workers in Gangetic cities, Muslims ranked low among the
  local Hindus. Where Muslims were rich and powerful, as were nobles and
  zamindars in the Mughal heartland, Muslim leaders ranked high in society
  and received due respect from Hindu elites. As a result of this cultural
  mixing and diversity, “caste” became a flexible term with distinct
  connotations in each of the regions of early modernity.
Two Societies
During the medieval period Indian society was divided into two broad
divisions based on religion. In English documents and records of the period
the Hindus are referred to as ‘Gentoos’ (Gentiles) and the Muslims as
‘Moors’. The two communities differed with respect to social manners and
etiquette; even their forms of salutation were different. They differed in the
respect of dress and diet too. Each community had its own religious festivals.
The social rites and ceremonies of the two communities, on occasions of birth
and marriage, for instance, were different. Although these differences
occasionally provoked tension and even hostility, a system of peaceful
coexistence developed and even fraternizing on social occasions and in fairs
was not uncommon.
Muslim Society
As a result of continuous immigration from the Muslim countries of Central
and West Asia the Muslim population retained the mixed character which it
had acquired during the previous centuries. In the north-western region the
Central Asians and Persians, who entered India during the reigns of Babur
and his successors, lived side by side with the Muslim immigrants of the pre-
Mughal period. In coastal regions the immigrants were primarily traders,
hailing originally from Arabia and the Persian Gulf. As a result of their
regular or irregular unions with the local Hindus or converts a number of