The Disappearing Dhobi?
washing at dhobi ghat

The Disappearing Dhobi?

NPR did a story today about India’s dhobis or clothes washers (I suppose they would be “launderers” or “laundresses” which are words that don’t seem to get much print these days).  As I realize by looking back at my stacks of pictures from my time in India, I really felt myself mesmerized by the daily washing ritual that happens all across the country.  Although the same fabric-flogging is seen in developing countries all over the world, there was something about it in India that lent a true sense of place whether in the big cities or the small towns and numerous riverbanks in between.  Reporter Laura Sydell posits that the iconic dhobis may become a thing of the past as a result of the increasing prevalence of washing machines and the general march of modernization.

 This is my photo of Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai where thousands of launderers smack wet clothes (and hotel linens) against their stones in a weird harmony.

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