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

‘A Trustworthy Indian in Stockholm’: A. Yusuf Ali’s Mission to Scandinavia, 1918

Monday, May 21, 2018

A hundred years ago, Stockholm was the centre of Indian anti-colonialism and, at the same time, British counter-intelligence operations. In late April and early May 1918, the Indian lawyer and administrator A. Yusuf Ali gave a series of lectures on...

The Anti-German Union and the India Office

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A file among the records of the India Office Public & Judicial Department shows how the anti-German hysteria that developed in Britain after the outbreak of the First World War came to spread as far as central India. Poster for...

Endangered Urdu Periodicals

Thursday, May 10, 2018

This blog post has been written by Mr Nasir Javaid, grant holder for EAP839. The material has just been submitted to the EAP Office and it will be online later in the year. EAP839 produced digital images of rare Urdu...

New Digital Curator in the Digital Scholarship Team

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hello all! My name is Adi Keinan-Schoonbaert, and I’m the new Digital Curator for Asian and African collections at the British Library. One of the core remits of the Digital Scholarship team is to enable and encourage the reuse of...

More blog posts

Related events

Reintroducing the Niʿmatnāmah Half a Century Later

Cookbooks in 16th century India

Festival

ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Weekend Pass

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Enjoy a full weekend taster of ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’

Talks and Discussions

Eclipsed by the Moon: Mahlaqa Bai and Her Incomparable Teacher

William Dalrymple and Katherine Schofield on a remarkable story of music in 18th-century India

View all events

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