Day 23. Dhobi in India (DOH-bee)
Dhobis can be found in almost every state of India. The largest number of them live in the largest state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). There, as in most other states, they are classified as Scheduled Castes (Dalits or outcastes). However, in a few states like Maharashtra and Andhra they are classified as Other Backward Castes (OBC). There are many clans with their own clan names in this caste.
Traditionally, the Dhobi people did people’s laundry, washing clothing and pressing it, with irons filled with hot coals. Most Dhobis still do laundry and iron clothing in street-side stalls in residential areas. Dhobis are now beginning to own their own businesses or work in government jobs.
Most Dhobis follow popular Hinduism: worshiping the major gods and local gods. As well, they worship their traditional washing or “flogging” stones, believing these stones hold a spiritual force that will help them in practical ways.
Prayers for the families of the Dhobi:
Lord, give miracles, signs, wonders and healing in Jesus. Bless whole families and communities of Dhobi. May they see Jesus followers reach out to them and love them.
Lord, wash away the sin in the lives of the Dhobi leaders. Lord, draw the Dhobi leaders to Your Purity and Your Holiness. Send them ways to listen to Your Scriptures and share them with their families.
Lord, send Your overflowing love and grace to the Dhobi communities. Open doors for the Dhobi to learn to read Your Holy Scriptures and give them job opportunities allowing them to stay within their communities.
The Dhobi Blessing as Children of God: God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them, (and) God blessed them. (Gen. 1:26-27) To the Dhobi Jesus proclaims: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jer. 31:3)