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

The East India Company’s Black Book of Misdemeanours

Friday, March 24, 2017

The East India Company knew that it was dangerous to employ overseas servants who were xenophobic, lazy, or dishonest. Indeed the Company was so concerned that it created a ‘Black Book’ to record errors and misdemeanours. IOR/H/29 The book which...

British Library Launches OCR Competition for Rare Indian Books

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Calling all transcription enthusiasts! We’ve launched a competition to find an accurate and automated transcription solution for our rare Indian books and printed catalogue records, currently being digitised through the Two Centuries of Indian Print project. The competition, in partnership...

Flying over the Himalayas: RAF Flight to Gilgit in November 1934

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

During the 1930s, the RAF conducted a number of flights to Gilgit. These flights served political purposes through projecting British power into this remote region of her Empire, propaganda purposes from the resulting prestige of conducting daring flights of exploration,...

The personal possessions of Thomas and Dorothy Shore

Thursday, March 2, 2017

India Office Private Papers recently acquired two fascinating documents concerning the personal possessions of Thomas and Dorothy Shore. Both Thomas and Dorothy came from families closely connected to the East India Company. Their son John Shore (1751-1834) became Governor-General of...

More blog posts

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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