London To Landaa Bazaar

By: Ahmed Raza Rizvi

The word Landa Bazar visualizes a scenario of heaps of  second-hand clothes, kept to sell on carts, surrounded by mediocre people who are busy in bargaining. Just to persuade passers-by, the vendors chant different slogans like," 100 ke do _100 ke do, "or" aajaayen jee , chhaantee karlain 40_ 40 mein.

Though, People are aware of Landa Bazar but very few know the background, one may wonder how this name was coined, and what does it mean?

Before 70s, it was illegal to import used clothes or other articles, hence, these commodities were smuggled through the route of Iran and Afghanistan.

Later during Z.A Bhutto period, an agreement with British Government was signed and consequently second-hand clothes were allowed to be brought from different cities of England including London.

The first Bazar was staged at Sher Shah, Karachi, and this central market of second-hand articles was named as "London Bazar". With the passage of time the name altered to “Landa bazaar”.

Earlier, these commodities were imported mainly from England. But now, other countries like USA, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Japan and China export not only second-hand clothes but other useful stuff too.

The consignments from these countries are ported at Karachi and brought to upcountry markets and sold out to retailers of different cities including Hyderabad.

Hyderabad is considered to be the second biggest market of Landa Bazar. Within the city, Landa Bazar has different markets like, the most famous market around the corners of Jama-cloth (old Tarachand Hospital), comprising 70-80 shops, around 100 push-carts and way-side stalls. Shopkeepers are mainly Pathans.

Another market on Station Road, known for gents-stuff, is not big though, consisting up to 20 shops, around 50 push-carts and stalls, yet it is big enough to meet the requirements of customers. People from Hazara community have their stake in this market.

Articles in these markets are sold on seasonal basis. In summer season, stuffs like house hold items, hand bags, shorts, caps, t-shirts, belts, sandals etc are sold.

When the weather is sweltering people avoid shopping. But with the advent of winter individuals these markets turn into shopping paradise for warm stuff.

From all over the city, people visit to purchase the commodities for their personal use as well as in large quantities for their retail outlets. Stuff like jackets, coats, sweaters, cardigans, blankets, bags, shoes and toys are available in a good quantity.

The third known venue for Landa Bazar is the market of Naya-Pul which is considered as shoe market of Hyderabad. It includes 35-40 shops and around 20 push carts.

Shopkeepers of this market are Pathans, which deal in imported and used shoes. But from last few years, many shops have replaced there outlets with China-made shoes. One of the shopkeepers told its reason as it was due to increase in demand of China-made shoes.

Interestingly, prices here are quite less than other commercial areas and in the posh parts of the city. But still you need to be good at the bargaining.

The seasonal shpkeepers would on the first sight make a judgment if the buyer is a newcomer, and would announce a fairly high price. If you are new to bazaar and the bargaining, make a rough guess by just telling half the price asked.

Wonder If you succeed in getting the article on what price you have suggested. This goes on and on the entire year.