In our society, a lot of people contribute to ensure that it functions smoothly. They are all commandants of respect and dignity.
However, the money minded civilization now, looks down upon most other occupation which are mostly of the poor and involve physical labour. The washer man is one such person.
The Occupation of a Washer Man:
The principal occupation of a washer man is washing of linen and clothes and at present times also pressing them. Initially, washer men were not considered inferior, however, the Varna System in the later Vedic period, consolidated them as yet another downtrodden caste who were supposed to tend to the needs of the higher classes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas. A typical washer man generally possesses a donkey for carrying the load to the riverbank or the nearest pool.
Although the term washer man points to a masculine profession, women have traditionally been associated with this occupation. Generally, the whole family is involved in some work allied to washing clothes. There are some who wash, some who deliver, some who was delicate clothes, some who iron the clothes and some who keeps the accounts.
Changes in the Occupation:
As is seen, washer man is a pretty rural concept. Even in urban areas it was a concept in olden days. With industrial revolution, massive urbanization happened. After new urban areas were developed, mass mechanization also started. This mass mechanization usurped many of the traditional Indian occupations.
Unfortunately, the washer men in the cities fell prey to this change. Nowadays, most people own washing machines in the cities and therefore wash their own clothes. Washing machines are preferred because people can customize the time and powers, according to the delicateness of the clothes and also washing machines have a drier facility which dries the clothes. For busy households in cities, it is a feasible option.
The occupation of the washer men in the cities has reduced to just pressing facility. Also, most cities have washing firms and shops which do the entire work of washing- all types of mechanized washing- dry and wet, press and even home deliver the washed and pressed clothes. Quite naturally, washer men have become extinct from the modern cities of India. Nevertheless, in rural areas, they are still an occupation.
Washer men are typical examples of how industry and technology have replaced traditional handmade occupations. We should no doubt be advanced scientifically, but at the same time ensure that we incorporate everyone, all occupations in the technological progress.