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

Miguel of Mazagon, Mumbai- Part Two

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

We continue our story of Miguel de Lima e Souza. Miguel was now part of the British establishment in Bombay, both politically and socially. He was a member of the Insurance Society, a key association of those who mattered financially....

Miguel of Mazagon, Mumbai – Part One

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Some years ago, I walked through narrow streets in Mazagon, Bombay (Mumbai), looking for the site of the old Gloria Church. It was originally the personal chapel in the estate of my ancestor, Sir Miguel de Lima e Souza, who...

Invalids in the Nilgiri Hills

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

In The Bengal and Agra Annual Guide and Gazetteer for 1841 is a section on the benefit of the climate of the Nilgiri Hills for invalids, followed by hints for those trying to recover their health. View of the Neelgherry...

Fireworks in India for Queen Victoria

Friday, November 5, 2021

A Royal Proclamation was published in India on 1 November 1858 transferring government from the East India Company to the Crown. The document, addressed to the Princes, Chiefs, and people of India, was read out in the open in many...

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

Sinhalese Manuscripts Pilot Digitisation Project

A pilot digitisation project that aims to make freely available four palm leaf manuscripts from the British Library’s Sinhalese manuscript collections

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