The D'jarras were a caste system, once used by the Bajorans to create a stratified social hierarchy. Everyone was born into a specific caste of D'jarras based on their family, which determined their occupation.
Higher-ranking D'jarras were treated with respect and deference by those of lower ranks. For example, the Ih'valla are a caste of artists and sculptors, and were ranked higher than the Te'nari. In some cases, Bajoran family names indicated the D'jarra to which family members belonged; for example, the family name Kira indicated membership in the Ih'valla, or artists' D'jarra.
The D'jarra system was set aside during the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor, so that all Bajorans could fight as soldiers to liberate their homeworld. After the Cardassian withdrawal, this was maintained, as too many people were now performing jobs far different from their D'jarras, and only the most conservative of Bajorans paid the matter any thought.
In 2372, Akorem Laan called for the restoration of the D'jarra system after he assumed the position of Emissary of the Prophets. Having travelled through time from two hundred years in the past, Akorem believed in the D'jarra system, and proclaimed that the Bajorans had strayed from the path the Prophets set for them by abandoning the D'jarras. In spite of Kai Winn's support on the issue, resumption of the D'jarras was a deeply divisive issue amongst the Bajorans, many of whom refused to return to their castes. Akorem hoped that eventually the D'jarras would be enforced by legal measures, such as deportation.
For the Federation, the D'jarras were also a source of great concern, since caste-based discrimination would disqualify Bajor for Federation membership. When a Vedek from the Imutta caste was murdered by Vedek Porta for refusing to resign because his D'jarra involved preparing the dead for burial and was therefore unclean, Captain Benjamin Sisko challenged Akorem's claim as the Emissary. When the two returned to the wormhole to confront the Prophets on the issue, the Prophets confirmed that Sisko was the true Emissary, and Akorem had been sent to the future to affirm that the D'jarra system belonged to the past while also reinforcing the responsibility of Sisko's role as the Emissary. After Sisko and Akorem had accepted the situation, the Prophets returned Akorem to his own time, and the idea of returning to the D'jarra system was quickly abandoned once Sisko returned to DS9 and explained what had taken place.
Kira Nerys was quick to point out that the return of D'jarras would force Bajorans to give up professions they had been trained for and spent years in; she herself noted she had no talent in art, having spent her life as an insurgent and military officer. It also caused uncomfortable social distancing, such as when a fellow Bajoran, Gia, gave up her seat on the Promenade for Nerys when she was having lunch. (DS9: "Accession")
Individuals with known D'jarras
- Kira Nerys would have been a member of the Ih'valla, or artists' D'jarra.
- Shakaar Edon would have been a member of the farmers' D'jarra. Akorem Laan and Vedek Porta hoped that if the D'jarra system were restored, Bajorans would not elect a member of this D'jarra to political office.
- Gia was a member of the Te'nari D'jarra. They ranked lower than the artist D'jarra Ih'valla.
According to the script, d'jarra was pronounced as "duh-ZHAR-uh", although in the episode itself, it is consistently pronounced phonetically. 
The D'jarras of some Bajoran characters seen or mentioned in the episode "Accession" can be deduced from known cases. For example, other members of Kira Nerys' family, such as her brothers Kira Pohl and Kira Reon, would also have been Ih'valla.
- Mi'tino – low ranking merchants and land owners
- Va'telo– pilots, sailors, and similar professions
- Ke'lora – laborers and lawmen
- Sern'apa – unspecified, possibly the priests.
The Terok Nor novel Night of the Wolves states that then-Vedek Opaka advocated for the D'jarras' abolition in the late 2340s, as the Cardassians were using the caste system to play the Bajorans against each other. She was expelled from the Vedek Assembly over it by Kai Arin.