As with other occupational castes in Sri Lanka, the traditional occupation of this caste, too, was agriculture. But, they also provided laundry services to their landlord as and when required under Sri Lanka’s feudal land tenure system.
Rajaka is a caste in Andhra Pradesh state in India. The population of Rajaka’s are 12% in AP population and they are considered backward caste. Their nature of business is laundry. Their social status need help and the community is requesting AP Government to move them into Schedule caste and Government promised them to move them into Schedule caste over and over again but ignoring them from long time. Primary reason for this is from this community there is no representation in any higher positions in polities no any sort of government representation. In other parts of country it is well known as Dhobi caste and there in schedule caste. Another statical information regarding Rajaka caste in Andhra Pradesh this community evenly spread across Andhra Pradesh (Andhra area, Telengana and Rayalaseema Areas)
The creation of the above Mudaliyar class by the British in the 19th century, its restriction only to the Govigama caste, production of spurious caste hierarchy lists by this class and changes to the land tenure system, resulted in this caste too being classified as a low caste during this period. Although contrary to history, some modern Govigama historians even go to the extent to now suggest that this caste was traditionally bound to serve the Govi caste.
The influential Mudaliyar class attempted to keep this caste and all other Sri Lankan castes out of colonial appointments. The oppression by the Mudaliars and connected headmen extended to demanding subservience, service and even restrictions on the type of personal names that could be used by this community.
Despite the above odds, several members of this caste became pioneer Ship chandlers, commercial Laundry operators and successful Merchants during the British period and were recognised as members of the local elite.
To see a sample of India dhobi ghat please look this video place Bombay – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbbh2r5J8Oo Another video from Andhra Pradesh – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2jpe1QfZdM&feature=related
Members of this community are in all the leading professions in Sri Lanka and in commerce and make positive contributions to society. They are gaining an increased say in modern Sri Lankan politics, mainly through the alternative political party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna as the leadership selection processes within the two main political parties are not democratic. Caste discrimination by the Buddhist monastic establishment is also an impediment to the progress of this community.