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Asian & African Studies reference enquiries

Here are three examples of the kind of enquiry that the Asian & African Studies Reference Team can help you with.

If your enquiry requires in-depth research or more specialist help than we can provide we will forward your enquiry to the appropriate person, refer you to our Research Service or suggest alternative sources of help.

How do I trace the burial record of a family member who died in Bombay at a time when India was ruled by the British?

The Library's Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections hold returns of burials (and baptisms, and marriages) of European Christians from churches all over the sub-continent prior to independence in 1947 - 1948, and these are arranged in name index volumes in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. They lead enquirers to the full entries (giving date and cause of death, etc.), which are available on microfilm reels in the Reading Room.

How do I find details of my grandfather's military career in the Indian Army?

Those Indian Army records of service (i.e. the official file documenting an officer's time in the Forces) which have survived are listed by name in an index on the Asian and African Studies Reading Room open access shelves. They can be ordered for consultation; it may also be possible to copy then. We also hold a near-complete run of the published "Indian Army List", which gives career details of serving soldiers down to junior officer level.

Do you have any photographs of Mahatma Gandhi?

The Library's catalogue, Explore the British Library will enable you to find illustrated biographies of Gandhi that are in stock. In addition, you can search, by name, our Catalogue of Photographs.