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Sindhi language collections

The British Library’s Sindhi collections contain 48 manuscripts, approximately 4,000 printed books - dating from the 19th century to present day publications from India and Pakistan - and 21 periodicals. They offer a unique resource for South Asian research, particularly in the fields of Sindhi language and literature, history, politics, religion, law, education, anthropology, genealogy, geography, music, art and architecture. 

Our Sindhi holdings come from manuscripts, books, periodicals and archives collected by the India Office Library prior to 1982, by the British Museum Department of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts prior to 1973, and from subsequent acquisitions made by the British Library. For the full range of the Library's resources for South Asian studies see the South Asia pages. The collections as a whole offer a wealth of information relating to Sindh, India and Pakistan.

Manuscripts

Sindhi manuscripts include two 19th century copies of the Risalo of the great Sufi saint and poet, Shah ‘Abd al-Latif Bhittai (ca.1689-1752). The collection is dominated by religious treatises, with particular emphasis on the works of Makhdum Muhammad Hashim of Thatta and his disciples.

The opening folio of Shaha jo risalo (19th century) / Or. 2987.

The opening folio of Shaha jo risalo (19th century) / Or. 2987.

Printed books and periodicals

The collections of Sindhi printed books and periodicals range from the mid-nineteenth century to current research level publications from India and Pakistan. In content, they span the whole range of humanities and social sciences. 

The British Library acquired a substantial collection of works in Sindhi from the last quarter of the 19th century through to 1947, as a result of the passing of the Indian Press and Registration of Books Act of 1867. Under the Act, the India Office Library and subsequently the British Museum Department of Oriental Printed Books selected titles from quarterly lists of Indian publications. Within this, ‘Proscribed publications’ are of particular interest – more than 20 pamphlets banned by the British government in India during the crucial four decades leading up to independence.

How to find items in Sindhi

Sindhi language items are accessible in the British Library's London reading rooms at St Pancras. Manuscripts and older books may be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. Most books in Sindhi can be ordered to any London reading room, and those published since 1945 are available for inter-library loan through the Document Supply Service.

You can search for Sindhi printed books in Explore the British Library. Entries for our earlier printed book collections (including ‘Proscribed publications’) are currently being added to the South Asia Union Catalogue.

The following catalogues, detailing sections of the British Library’s Sindhi manuscripts and early printed books collections, can also be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading  Room, and via the web:

If the Sindhi manuscript, book or periodical for which you are searching cannot be found via any of the above links, the chief means of locating material remains a series of published catalogues (see below), supplemented by card and blue slip catalogues. These can be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.

  • C. Shackle, Catalogue of the Panjabi and Sindhi manuscripts in the India Office Library. London, 1977.
  • J.F. Blumhardt, Catalogue of the Library of the India Office, Vol. II.-Part III. Hindi, Panjabi, Pushtu and Sindhi books. London, 1902.
  • Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd, Publications proscribed by the Government of India. London, 1985.
  • Graham Shaw and Salim al-Din Quraishi, The bibliography of South Asian periodicals: A Union-list of periodicals in South Asian languages. Sussex,1982.

Contact 

Leena Mitford
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7463

E-mail: leena.mitford@bl.uk

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