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.

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Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

Personal Reflections on the Indian Political Service – Part Two: Life in the Gulf

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

This is the second of three blogs on Mss Eur F226, a collection of memoirs written by former members of the Indian Political Service (IPS). Ten officers’ memoirs from Mss Eur F226 document service in the Persian Gulf and were...

Sobriety and decorum - Passengers on East India Company ships

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The movement of people on board East India Company ships to and from Asia was subject to strict rules in the 18th and 19th centuries. The ships carried civilian employees, maritime and military personnel, non-official inhabitants, women, children, and Indian...

A Scandalous Annotation Part II: George Francis Grand

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

In a previous post we explored the story of Catherine Grand, whose marriage to George Francis Grand at Chandernagore on 10 July 1777 is recorded in the Bengal Parish Registers. We know from the annotated entry that Catherine married the...

New online - April/May 2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

We have another four completed digitisation projects that have recently gone online. These four projects represent both the global breadth of EAP projects and the wide variety of content types: Temple manuscripts from Kerala and Karantaka, India [EAP908] Bound works...

More blog posts

Staff profiles

Dr Malini Roy

Head of Visual Arts

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