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|Regions with significant populations|
|Uttar pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Sri Lanka, Gujarat, Kerala, Pakistan, Andhra Pradesh, UK, Nepal|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Dhobis go by many different names, such as Vannar, Madivala, Agsar, Parit, Rajaka, Chakali, Rajakula, Veluthadaretc. This caste group from India and Pakistan specializes in washing clothes. The word Dhobi is derived from the Hindi word dhona, which means to wash. They are found throughout North India, Gujarat, Maharashtra as well as the Punjab province of Pakistan, where they are known as Gazar. A dhobi is likely to be of many different origins, with those who ancestors took the occupation of washing clothes evolving over time into a distinct caste bound by rules of endogamy. Most Dhobis follow the customs and traditions of the region they live, so for example those in North India speak Hindi, while those in Maharashtra speak Marathi.
Scope and job 
Dhobis are an occupational caste grouping, and usually operate from door to door collecting dirty linen from households. After a day or two, they return the linen washed, sometimes starched and ironed. Dhobis were the forerunners on the Indian subcontinent to modern professional dry cleaners. Since the dhobi charges are much less than those a dry cleaners, they are popular with most households.
Each dhobi marks a unique symbol or character on garments belonging to a particular household. This is marked in black indelible ink to prevent it from being washed off. Dhobis may wash the clothes themselves or outsource it to dhobis who only wash clothes. In Andhra Pradesh this caste is known as Rajaka (Chakali) and they make up 12% of the Andhra Pradesh population. There are Muslim Dhobis in Karnataka, they known as Agasar, Parit also, they speak Urdu and Kannada, and the Hindu dhobis are known as Madivala in karnataka. They are known as Madvala or Rajaka in the state of Goa, and have Other Backward Class status, while most Dhobis in North India have scheduled caste status.
Dhobis of Karnataka 
In Karnataka, there are Muslim Dhobis, they are also called as Agasar & Parit. Their population is concentrated mainly in Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bijapur, Dharwar, Haveri, Davangere & Gadag districts. And their secondary language is Kannada. There are also Hindu dhobis, called Madivala, and their population is concentrated mainly in Chitradurga, Raichur and Shivamogga districts...
Dhobis of Uttar Pradesh 
Perhaps the second largest concentration of Dhobis after Andhra Pradesh(12% of total population of A.P.), is found in Uttar Pradesh. They have been granted scheduled caste status. The community is strictly endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. Their main clans, known as gotras, are the Ayodhyabasi, Mathur, Shrivastav, Belwar, Jaiswar, Belwar, Yadava & Chauhans from Ajmer Rajasthan, practice hypergamy, with clans of lower status giving girls in marriage to those of higher status, but not receiving girls. They speak various dialects of Hindi, such as Khari boli, Awadhi Bhojpuri and Braj Bhasha.
The Dhobi are still involved in their traditional occupation, which is washing clothes. Traditionally, the community would wash clothes for particular families, and would receive grain and services from them. But with the growth of the cash economy, most Dhobi are now paid money for their services. A significant number of Dhobis are cultivators, and this particularly so in western Uttar Pradesh. They live in multi-caste villages, but occupy their own distinct quarters. Each of their settlements contains an informal caste council, known as a Biradari Panchayat. The Panchayat acts as instrument of social control, dealing with issues such as divorce and adultery.
Dhobi of Rajasthan 
The Dhobi of Rajasthan claim descent from Rajput community, and are known as Dhoba. Although the Dhobi are found throughout Rajasthan, their main concentration is in Ajmer District. The Dhobi speak Mewari, although most also understand Hindi. They have been granted Scheduled Caste status. Like other Hindu castes in Rajasthan, the Dhobi community is further divided into clans known as ataks. Their main ataks are the Chauhan, Marwara and Hilogia. Marriages are forbidden within the clan. Most Dhobi are still involved in their traditional occupation of washing clothes. They are exclusively Hindu and their tribal deity known as Ghatmata.
Dhobi of Haryana 
The Dhobi of Haryana are said to have originated from Punjab and Rajasthan. They are scattered throughout the state. Like other Hindu communities, they are divided into clans called gotras. Some of the major gotras are the Chauhan, Shukravar, Rajoria, Tonwar, Panwar, Badera, Satmase, Akhasriya, Mahavar, Basvadiya and Sunaria. These clan names are also used as surnames. There main occupation remains washing of and drying of clothes. A small number of Dhobi are marginal farmers.They are classified as OBCs.
Dhobi of Maharashtra 
In Maharashtra, the Dhobi are found throughout the state, and are also known as Parit. They claim to have originally belonged to the [untouchables] community, and in particular the Chauhan clan. The Dhobi have been listed as Other Backward Class (OBC). They speak Marathi among themselves, and Hindi with outsiders.
The community are endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. There main clans in Maharashtra are the Abidkar, Bannolkar, Belwarkar, Chawhan, Chilate, Chawlkar, Chewakar, Dudhmogre, Dhongde, Gaikwad, Ghousalkar, Harmekar, Hedulkar, Jangade, Kalyankar, Kanekar, Kalatkar, Lad, Malekar, Nandgaonkar, Nane, Pawar, Pabrekar, Palkar, Purwarkar, Salekar, and Waskar. Marriage within the clan is prohibited.
The Dhobi of Mumbai wash their linen in the Mahalaxmi area known as Dhobi Ghat. This area is strangely popular with foreign tourists looking for a piece of quintessential "Indian-ness". Another region in South Mumbai, Dhobitalao, used to be a (now filled up) lake where British soldiers used to have their uniforms washed about 120 years ago.
Dhobi of Punjab 
The Dhobi of Punjab are said to have immigrated from the ancient city of Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, and are now found throughout Punjab. They are further sub-divided into clans called gots from the Sanskrit gotra, and marriages are forbidden within the clan. Their main clans are the Chauhan, Panwar, Tonwar and Rajoria. The Dhobi speak Punjabi, and their customs are similar to other Punjabi dalit castes. They are community still very much involved in their traditional occupation which is washing clothes. Some have also taken to other occupations such as dry cleaning, shop keeping, hosiery and plying rickshaws. A significant migration to the urban areas of Punjab and other parts of India has begun. Traditionally, the Dhobi lived in villages dominated by landowning castes such as the Jat, who acted as their patrons. This relationship has broken down, and any transaction now is made in cash. Each Dhobi settlement contains a biradari panchayat, which acts as instrument of social control, and resolves intra community disputes.
Dhobis of UK 
The Dhobis of the United Kingdom are predominantly based in Rugby, Warwickshire. They are known for their gatherings and great community spirit. The local Volleyball Club is the hub of their activities and they are responsible for the organisation of many community events. They also actively hold many charity events outside of their own scope on a regular basis. Midlands Rajput Volleyball Club (MRVC), aka Shree Rajput Dhobi Samaj Rugby.
The community also hold an annual sporting tournament. This includes other centres, from Leicester, London and even Preston.
The Dhobis in the UK are a far notion of what they were known for in India. Many are highly diverse professionals, ranging from Solicitors to Politicians.
Dhobis of Tamilnadu 
The Tamil Dhobis are called "Vannar", other names include Vannan, Panicker, Salavai thozhilale, Laundry man,Waserman etc. Majority of modern Tamil Vannar's are part of the middle class. There are some Vannars considered as untouchable people. They are Erankuli Vannar, Muthirai Vannar, Puthirai Vannar, Pandiya Vannar, Theendu Vannar, Theenda Vannar,Solizya Vannar,etc. Puthirai Vannars have been classified as scheduled caste.
Other uses 
Sometimes, a colloquial verb "to dhobi" is used. The sentence "My clothes were stinking, so I took them off and dhobied them native fashion by bashing them on a wet rock" from The Gold of Malabar by Berkely Mather, an author who had spent many years in India.
The word "dhobi" has been absorbed into the Malay language as "dobi" to mean "laundry". So "kedai dobi" means "laundry shop". A laundry shop in Malaysia may be owned by members of any group, not only Indian.
List Of Notable Dhobis 
Historical People 
- Tiru Kurippu Thonda Nayanar -Thondar born in Kanjeepuram. Thondar served as God Shiva. One of the 63 Nayanmar's in Tamilnadu.
- Bogar -The Great Herbal Siddhar on Tamilnadu.
- Chakali Ilamma -Indian Revolutionary Leader also A Key leader in Telangana Rebellion.
- Basavaraju Saraiah -Minister Government of Andhra pradesh.
- Shyam Rajak - Minister Government of Bihar.
- V. V. Rajan Chellappa -Indian politician.Mayor on MaduraiCorporation.also previously served as Rajya Sabha in 1992-1998.
Social reformers 
- Saint Shri Gadge Maharaj or Gadge baba (Great hero on Social Activists in19th century He helped poor peoples).
Warriors & Kings 
- Madivala Machideva - Great warrior and Saint on the 12th century People.
- Basava - Great saint and warrior on karnataga.
- Chhatrapadi sivaji maharaj - Legendary great warrior.
- Mohammad yousuf - alias(yousuf youhana) yesteryear pakistan cricket team captain.
Cine field 
- Arya - Tamil actor,Producer.
- Vadivelu -Tamil actor,Politician.
- Usha Rajak -Nepal film actress.
- Shankar -Malayala actor.
- Sudeep - Kannada,Tamil actor.
- Murali - Yeasteryear Tamil actor.
- Adharvaa - Son of actor murali.
- Pasupathy - Tamil actor.
See also 
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das
- A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of Punjab Volume I by H. A Rose
- People of India Haryana Volume XXIII edited by M.L Sharma and A.K Bhatia pages 149 to 153
- People of India Maharshtra Volume XXX Part One edited by B.V Bhanu, B.R Bhatnagar, D.K Bose, V.S Kulkarni and J Sreenath pages 523-528
- Central list of other backward classes
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 446 to 451 Manohar Publications
- People of India Rajasthan Volume XXXVIII Part One edited by B.K Lavania, D. K Samanta, S K Mandal & N.N Vyas pages 336 to 338 Popular Prakashan
- People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 169 to 171 Manohar
- Berkely Mather, "The Gold of Malabar", Fontana books, London, 1967, Ch. 7, P. 145
- "dhobi itch". Chambers Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-05-11.