The Kshatriya caste is the second top most caste in the caste system in India
. Kshatriyas traditionally were rulers and warriors.
According to the tenets of caste system
, the Kshatriya originated from the hands of the Hindu God 'Brahma'.
Although the Brahmins are at the top of the caste system, it is concurred that during the start of the Vedic period, it it was the Kshatriya caste was at the top.
With passage of time, however, while the Kshatriyas were busy conquering local territitores and populations, the Brahmins edged them out of the top spot by introducing religious laws that gave them pre-eminence by the end of the Vedic period in India.
The Kshatriya caste have traditionally been Kings, rulers and warriors till the dawn of the democratic system in India.
It was also the Kshatriya rulers task to protect and preserve the caste system as indicated in the caste bible 'Manusmriti.'
As with the other castes, Kshatriya status is gained by being born into the caste. However, in history there have been instances where Kshatriya status has either been bought or bestowed to non-Kshatriyas.
All the ruling classes upto the advent of colonialism in India almost always consisted of the Kshatriyas.
Even in modern India, it is not uncommon to see Kshatriyas in public office of power such as government, as they have been associated with power for over 3500 years.
Historical Kshatriya warrior/king
As members of a high caste, Kshatriyas are expected to marry amongst themselves and inter-caste marriages are generally frowned upon.
In the modern day you find Kshatriyas holding positions of power in politics and business as well, among other non-traditional occupations. They also hold prominent positions in the army.
Even today, Kshatriya families consider it as a status symbol or a decoration to have the famous two crossed swords in a shield symbol of a Kshatriyan hung in their house.
Kshtariyas are also the ones who are leading the private armies that perpetrate dalit atrocities.
NOTE: You can get very detailed and extensive information about Kshatriyas and their role in the caste system in the eBook 'Truth About Dalits'.