A Dhoby In British Era Bombay, 1903 Postcard
A 1903 postcard of a dhoby of British era Bombay (Mumbai). He seems to be standing on the oval maidan with his laundry, noticeable is the Rajabai Clock Tower in the back. The dhoby is certainly an indispensable help for households, hospitals, hotels, hostels, etc. He collects the laundry and carts them off to the dhoby ghat or the laundry yard.
The dhoby ghat is a vast open area laundry based in Mahalaxmi in Bombay. The clothes are sorted and each marked with a code as per their traditional way. Washed and dried and then again carted off to the rightful owners. With this traditional method, it is said that astonishingly only a few clothes have been lost from the millions and millions of laundry that are washed daily. This traditional way of washing clothes has been going on for years, and generations of families continue the tradition even today. Many upgraded their business using washing machines where the load is higher and in turn, accruing higher profits.
Did you know- over one lakh clothes are washed each day. Some of the wealthier dhobis have given up manual washing and have installed large mechanical washing and drying machines.
From the collection- Antique Photo Madras George Town & Parry’s Corner 1885., Vintage Balamani Raja Ravi Varma.