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

An Irish soldier in India

Thursday, October 11, 2018

In July 1859 Gunner Richard Scott wrote a letter to his father from Poona. Scott was about to return to Britain after fighting with the Bombay Horse Artillery in the Indian Mutiny or Rebellion. He wrote of his military experiences...

Hungary Water for Missionaries?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

In November 1764 the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge wrote to the Court of Directors of the East India Company for permission to send a number of ‘sundry items’ out to their missionaries in India on the ships sailing that...

‘Lads of true spirit’ – recruiting for the East India Company in Ireland

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Before Robert Brooke of the Bengal Army became Governor of St Helena in 1787, he spent time in his native country of Ireland. He volunteered to recruit soldiers for the East India Company armies, and then devoted his time to...

Recording of the week: a Tamil lullaby

Monday, October 1, 2018

This week's selection comes from Christian Poske, AHRC Collaborative PhD candidate and Audio Project Cataloguer for Unlocking our Sound Heritage. The English musicologist Arthur Henry Fox Strangways recorded this Tamil lullaby with the title Lālishrīta in South India during a...

More blog posts

External links

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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