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

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic 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.

We offer workshops 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

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

Gerald Wellesley’s secret family

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In the 18th century it was not unusual for East India Company servants to have Indian wives or mistresses. Children of these unions were often openly acknowledged. Attitudes began to change after 1800 and there was a growing tendency to...

Calcutta to Bihar: an artist's journey

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

As part of the Visual Arts collections at the British Library, we hold an extensive collection of drawings, sketches and watercolours by amateur British and European artists who travelled through the Indian subcontinent. In 2015, we acquired a wonderful little...

Campaign medals from the India Office collections

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As part of our holdings at the British Library, the India Office collection of medals can now be found on the Explore Archives and Manuscripts online catalogue. The extensive collection includes more than 500 medals, which range from campaign medals,...

Caught out at Customs

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

On 29 November 1932 a consignment of goods was delivered to Karachi via the SS Wachtfels, described on the manifest as “used effects, the property of the Afghan Government”. On closer inspection the package was found to contain five pistols,...

More blog posts

Related events

In Conversation

Gurinder Chadha on The Viceroy's House

An evening with the acclaimed filmmaker

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