We have rich resources for the study of South Asia past and present. South Asia is taken to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Collection guides

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues
If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk.

We offer workshops to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

'South Asia Series' talks from April to June 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The British Library is pleased to announce the next set of talks in the ‘South Asia Series’, from April till the end of June 2017. This is a series of talks based around the British Library's South Asia collection and...

Toshakhana - an untold word?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sometimes when cataloguing India Office Records we encounter unfamiliar words. Rather than an untold life, today we present an ‘untold word’, which might be known to those of you who have read Indian history. What does Toshakhana mean? Of Persian...

The East India Company’s Black Book of Misdemeanours

Friday, March 24, 2017

The East India Company knew that it was dangerous to employ overseas servants who were xenophobic, lazy, or dishonest. Indeed the Company was so concerned that it created a ‘Black Book’ to record errors and misdemeanours. IOR/H/29 The book which...

British Library Launches OCR Competition for Rare Indian Books

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Calling all transcription enthusiasts! We’ve launched a competition to find an accurate and automated transcription solution for our rare Indian books and printed catalogue records, currently being digitised through the Two Centuries of Indian Print project. The competition, in partnership...

More blog posts

Related events

In Conversation

Vivek Shanbhag in Conversation with Erica Wagner

A rare opportunity to meet one of India's most acclaimed authors

In Conversation

Gurinder Chadha on The Viceroy's House

An evening with the acclaimed filmmaker

View all events

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Centre of South Asian Studies

University of Cambridge

Find my past

Records of baptisms, marriages, burials, wills, pensions, military and civil career information

The National Archives

Records relating to the East India Company, and the Family Records Centre