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

An Ode to Early Record Catalogues

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thomas Henry is a collector of 78 rpm records based in Paris who has carried out extensive research on the history of sound recording through his blog Ceints de Bakélite and his interactive mapping project Disquaires de Paris. With a...

The Sound Recordings of Arnold Adriaan Bake at the British Library: A treasure trove of South Asian music

Friday, May 19, 2017

This is the second blog from World and Traditional Music highlighting collections at the British Library from India, as part of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture 19th May 1899 is the birth date of Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake...

Henry Nicholetts’ voyage to Calcutta

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

India Office Private Papers recently acquired the journal of Henry Nicholetts written during a voyage to Calcutta in 1855. Henry was aged 15 and on his way to start a career in Borneo. We are delighted that the journal is...

Representing Self and Family: Preserving Tamil Studio Photography

Friday, May 12, 2017

Photography arrived in India in the 1840s with the first photographic society in South India being created in Madras in 1856. During the early decades of Indian photography, it was accessible almost exclusively to the colonial administration and Indian elite....

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