It was in 1968 when I with great pride and enthusiasm participated in the meeting at Nagpur as President of Andhra Pradesh Rajakajana Sevasangham along with many delegates of U.P., Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which was really a very memorable event in the history of our community. Mr. B. Y. Parit of Nagpur was the Convener. After long discussions then we took a decision to form the All india organization to be called as “All India Rajak (Dhobi) Maha Sangh” and an Ad hoc committee was also elected with myself as the President and Mr. M. G. Bharati of Nagpur as the General Secretary. In 1964 with the sincere support, while-hearted cooperation and everlasting encouragement of the workers of Nagpur and the Maharashtra State Parit Seva Mandal and first meeting was held on the Maidan of Sant Gadge Baba Magaraj. It was successfully conducted on 3rd and 4th of December, 1964. On that occasion the ablest and the most efficient leader of Tamilnadu Sri M. Ethirajulu, M.L.C. was taken into the Committee to act as the General Secretary and Mr. M. Govindaswamy, the President of Tamilnadu Dhobi Sangh to act so the Vice President of our Association. Being invited by the Tamilanadu State Association the Committee resolved to hold the first session of All India Rajak (Dhobi) Maha Sangh in Madras on 15th, 15th and 16th of July, 1966. Accordingly it was carried on and it was really a very memorable occasion as it was attended by thousands of fellow men and delegates from all over the country. I feel proud to say that the then president of Indian National Congress, Sri K. Kamaraj presided over the open session. A historical decision was taken in the meeting giving a call to all the Dhobies of the country to join the Organization and get the Problem facing the entire world of Dhobies, solved peacefully and democratically. With great concern and vehemence the problem of getting the Dhobies included in the list of Scheduled castes in all states was discussed and all the members present unanimously expressed that it should be got done at once as it would raise the standard of all Dhobies socially and economically and educationally. I presume that each of us is a aware of the fact that the Dhobies in North are kept under scheduled Castes whereas in South India, except in kerala, they are Backward class. So we pledged to put an end to this kind of unlawful disparity. Thenceforth the Organization began to strive vigorously with best motives and had contact with the other State Organizations that were not affiliated so far. In 1967 in Delhi, in 1973 at Chirala of Andhra Pradesh, in 1975 in Hyderabad, in 1979 in Vellore working Committee meetings were held. A conference was held at Vijayawada (A.P.) in 1972. By this time Sri M. Ehirajulu, the General Secretary unfortunately passed away and so Sri M. N. Das, who has been one of the Vice Presidents was elected to the post. A strong opinion was expressed in the meeting to rename the organization to suit to the nations of all States. So and ad hoc committee with Sri M. N. Das (Bengal) Sri T.N. Das (A.P.) and Sri C. Muniswamy Tamilnadu as members was framed to frame the by-laws and to suggest a suitable name of the organization satisfying the people of North and South. After that in the working Committee meeting held at Chirala (A.P.) the by-laws framed by the Committee were adopted and approved. At the same time after a prolonged debate. It was decided to call our organization as “Akhil Bharatiya Dhobi Maha Sangh” in Hindi and “All India Washermen’s Federation” in English having its central office in Delhi. Sri M.N. Das, General Secretary, who was authorized got the Association registered under S/13609 under Societies Act on 17.10.73. in January 1978 the meeting of the All India Washermen’s Federation was held at Nagpur and elections were conducted as per the Constitution. Mr. Mohanlal kanojia was elected. Working Committee President and Mr. Jagadish Prasad Additional General Secretary. In the Executive Body meeting held ar Raichur in the same year, C.V. Muniswamy was taken to be joint Secretary of the Organization and the work of Supervising the activities in the southern Zone was entrusted to him. In the working Committee meeting held at Vellore (Tamilnadu) in 1979 a decision was taken to hold the conference at Delhi on a large scale bringing the entire Dhobi nation into one fold to take their problems and grievances to notice of the Central and State Governments. The Whole work of making arrangements for this historical conference is entrusted to Mr. Jagadish Prasad, the Additional Secretary. We represented made a time and led many deputations to the Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi and many other members of the Central Cabinet from time to time requesting them to solve the long neglected problems relating to our Organization. Myself and Sri M. N. Das had toured in different State and participated in several meetings, where we exhorted the Dhobies to be united and to get themselves enrolled in their respective State Organizations. We were given hearly welcome and thus it could give good response.
I will be failing in my duty if I do not mention the names of Sri M. Govindaswamy (Madras), Sri Chandulal Diwakar (Delhi), Vice Presidents, and Sri Dumarlal Baitha M.P. (Ex-Minister of Bihar), Sri T. N. Das (A.P.), Sri C. V. Muniswamy (Tamilnadu), Sri Mohanlal Kanojia (Nagpur) Shri N. K. Dhotey (Amarvati) and many other workers of different States who had volumarily extended their sincere cooperation and encouraged us during our tours. I express my thankfulness to all the ether workers whose names I could not mention here for want of space. At the end I must gratefully thank Shri M.N. Das our General Secretary and all those who extedded their helping hand and cooperation by giving donations, so that I may do service to the organization and thereby to the poor down-trodden Dhobies at large.
Now, in the light of my past experience, I feel that the time has come for all the Dhobies living in all corners of the country to raise their voice unitedly and get the grievances redressed.
As regards the problem of getting our caste included in the list of Scheduled Castes, where this community was not so included, every one and all of us should be determined to fight tooth and nail and get it done at any cost.
I therefore hope that the Dhobies of all States will sink their differences, if any, and come under the shade of one flag taking up a uniform policy to solve the problems and thereby secure a better position in, the society socially educationally, economically and politically.