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

Asia and Africa

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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions 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

The Red Sea to India non-stop: Amelia Earhart, Southern Arabia, and British Obstructionism

Thursday, December 13, 2018

On 15 June 1937, Amelia Earhart, the pioneering aviator, and her navigator, Fred Noonan, landed at Karachi airport in their specially modified Lockheed Model 10 Electra plane. They had been flying for over thirteen hours and travelled more than 1800...

From Westmorland to India – William Lambert of the Bombay Army

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

In our last post we met William Lambert, a young Cadet in the East India Company’s Bombay Army, soon after his arrival in India in 1780. He wrote to his friend Jonathan Oldman in England giving his first impressions of...

Cadet William Lambert writes from Bombay in 1780

Thursday, November 29, 2018

In April 1780, East India Company military cadet William Lambert wrote from Bombay to his friend Jonathan Oldman in England. He reported on the long voyage from England, his first impressions of India, his hopes of advancement, and a longing...

Refashioning the Dilkusha Palace, Lucknow

Monday, November 26, 2018

This guest blog post is contributed by Professor Swati Chattopadhyay, an architectural historian specialising in modern architecture and urbanism, and the cultural landscape of British Colonialism. Edith E. Cuthell, author of My Garden in the City of Gardens (1905), described...

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

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