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

Judith Weston and her search for a husband

Monday, June 19, 2017

Judith Weston left England in December 1727 to visit her brother William in India. William had recently been appointed to the East India Company’s civil service in Bengal. Aged 26 and belonging to a large family living at West Horsley...

The loss of the East Indiaman ‘Ganges’

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The British Library holds an account of the sinking of an East India Company ship, the Ganges, in 1807. It is a terrifying story, not least because the crisis took place over several days. The Titanic sank in less than...

Cow Protection in India

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On 9 December 1911, The Graphic magazine had a short piece with the surprising title ‘How Cattle Threaten the Unity of the Empire’. This stated that at a time when the King’s cattle had been winning prizes in Britain, his...

Portraits of Dara Shikoh in the Treasures Gallery

Monday, June 12, 2017

Visitors to the Treasures Gallery at the British Library may notice that the display of Dara Shikoh album pages have changed. On exhibition are eight folios from the Dara Shikoh Album (Add.Or.3129), one of the great treasures of the Asian...

More blog posts

Related events

South Asia Year of Culture

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Throughout 2017 the British Library is presenting a special year of exciting events celebrating South Asian culture

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