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

BL Labs 2018 Research Award Honourable Mention: 'Doctoral theses as alternative forms of knowledge: Surfacing "Southern" perspectives on student engagement with internationalisation'

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This guest blog is by Professor Catherine Montgomery, recipient of one of two Honourable Mentions in the 2018 BL Labs Awards Research category for her work with the British Library's EThOS collection. ‘Contemporary universities are powerful institutions, interlinked on a...

A little piece of India

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

In 1917, a new Muslim burial ground opened in Woking for Indian soldiers dying in England during the First World War. Plan for layout of Woking Burial Ground IOR/L/SUR/5/8/8 In 2016 we posted a piece about the design of the...

Researching the Asian and African Collections at the British Library

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Asian and African department at the British Library began 2019 with one of the most important annual events in our calendar: a training day for students beginning their doctoral dissertations. Approximately fifty students from across the UK were introduced...

Course on Asian Papers and their Applications in Paper Conservation

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Instructor: Minah Song, independent paper conservator (www.minahsong.com) Date: 18th, 19th and 20th June (Tue - Thu), 2019- 3 days Place: The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB Enrollment limit: 12 Registration fee: 480 GBP (materials included) This three-day...

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