The dhobi was a favorite postcard subject, with the colors on this postcard - note the brilliant white - likely stenciled in by the publisher in India.
Hobson Jobson (1903) the great dictionary of Indian words in English, defines "Dhoby, Dobie s. A washerman; H. dhobi [from dhona, Skt. [Sanskrit] dhav, 'to wash.'] In colloquial Anglo-Indian use all over India. A common H. [Hindustani] proverb runs:
Another evocative card by M.V. Dhurandhar injects personality into the roving washerman. In the background is an edifice of the "new" Bombay while in the foreground we see the age-old profession of washermen cleaning the resident's laundry.
One day was often fixed each week or fortnight for washing a complete household's clothes. The concept of a washing day is said to have reflected a family's social status.