Indian washermen spin out decades-old tradition | Bangkok Post: news

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Indian washermen spin out decades-old tradition

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The young man swings the sodden red garment around his head and thrashes it against the flogging stone before it is spun and hung out to dry in the fierce Indian sun. 

In this photograph taken on December 11, 2012 a washer wips clothes on a stone at an open air laundry facility known as the Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai. This 25-acre (10-hectare) space is a chaotic conglomeration of rows of open-air concrete wash pens, each with its own flogging stone and rooms where the washermen, also known as "dhobiwallahs", sleep and work. Many of the over 700 families that make a living out of this Dhobi Ghat, who had followed their father into the business, a life of dunking, thrashing and drying close to 1,000 items of clothing each day for just 7 USD, are worried about the future as the workload has gone down considerably. Most ordinary Indians who have seen their disposable incomes rise as the country's economy expands, have dispensed with the services of the dhobiwallahs for good since most modern homes are equipped with a washing machine. ©AFP PHOTO / Roberto Schmidt

This is Mumbai's Dhobi Ghat, known as the world's largest outdoor laundry, where hundreds of traditional washermen hand-clean the teeming city's dirty clothes.

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