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.

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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

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...

The Great War Fund Fete

Thursday, January 3, 2019

On 13 January 1941 a War Fund Fete was held at Government House, Madras. As well as raising money for the Madras War Fund, the fete was also intended as a propaganda event. India Office Private Papers Mss Eur C261/5/2...

Indian Honours List, New Year 1919

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

On 1 January 1919 the India Office published its honours list approved by the King. There is a memorandum in the archives giving the reasons why the awards were made. The first name on the list is Sir Dorabji Jamshedji...

A Bioluminescent Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas is associated with sparkling lights that lift the eyes up to the stars in motionless awe. On Christmas 1875, a curious traveller wrote about a less-known yet equally magical light that drew his eyes below the horizon, a light...

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