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

Readers at desks in the Asian and African Reading Room

Asian & African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and 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 or contact the Asian & African Studies Reference Team.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations 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

Blog posts

New projects online - May 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May has been another busy month for new EAP projects going online. Here we showcase the first four now freely available, which cover a wide range of topics and regions. Siddha Medicine Manuscripts, Tamil Nadu, India [EAP810] Indigenous Memories of...

My daughter Seringa

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

In 1799 Captain John Norris of the Madras Engineers was aide-de-camp to Colonel Gent at the Siege of Seringapatam. Following the assault and capture of the fort on 4 May 1799, Norris was appointed Superintending Engineer of reform of the...

Digitised East India Company ships’ journals and related records

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The East India Company’s charter of incorporation, dated 31 December 1600, provided the Company with a monopoly of all English (and later British) trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. Dutch voyages to Asia in the closing years of...

Lady with the Lamp at 200: Florence Nightingale’s Bicentenary

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Florence Nightingale was an icon of the Victorian era and her name still inspires confidence today. It was the name given to the seven temporary intensive care hospitals set up by the NHS in response to the Covid-19 epidemic in...

More blog posts

Staff profiles

Dr Malini Roy

Head of Visual Arts

Dr Nur Sobers-Khan

Lead Curator, South Asian Collections

Dr Antonia Moon

Lead Curator, post-1858 India Office Records

Dr Margaret Makepeace

Lead Curator, East India Company Records

More staff members

Case studies

More Case studies
…The BL Newspaper collections are vast and in many cases also rare and unique in their content and collection histories. …

Junaid-Ul-Hassan is a Chevening Fellow working at the British Library on a project titled ‘News and Media in South Asia: Past and Present’.

…The archival material provides fascinating insights…

Christian is evaluating the archival material of Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake.

Featured collection items

Projects

Two Centuries of Indian Print

An international collaboration to digitise South Asian printed books

Digital access to Persian Manuscripts

Our collection of Persian Manuscripts is one of the most important in the world

All projects

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