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South Asia Studies: Collections

Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha, India. [Courtesy of]

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About the Collection

Materials in South Asian vernacular languages are most commonly collected in:

  • Bengali
  • Dari
  • Hindi
  • Nepali
  • Newari
  • Pali
  • Panjabi
  • Persian
  • Prakrit
  • Pushto
  • Sanskrit
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

Special Collections

Before India's independence from Britain in 1947, nearly a half of the subcontinent was ruled by Indian princely families collaborating with the British. As a means of collecting taxes from many Princely State residents, the British issued the Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India as early as 1797.

Each stamp included a state name and a tax classification and amount. Early examples of stamped paper from British India and the Princely States were colorless. Later, these were replaced by typeset or engraved stamps and color was added. For the most affluent states, printings were imported from the West.

This rich collection, including stamps from over 15 princely states, is a gift from Kenneth Robbins.


Shown below, from left to right, is: The Princely State of Alwar; The Princely State of Bundi; The Princely State of Indargarh;The Princely State of Udaipur (Chitrakot) 











For more information: The Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India: an Encyclopedia and Reference Manual 


History and Description



Formerly known as the Hindustan Ghadar Party Collection, the South Asians in North America (SANA) Collection relates to an Indian nationalist party based in Northern California during the first two decades of the 20th century. The collection includes primary source photographs, pamphlets, party literature, and interviews in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and English. 

Also see: Annotated and Selected Bibliography

For more information on this collection, visit South Asians in North America (SANA) Collection.   

For an exhibit based on this collection, see Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965.



Other Special Collection Summaries


Gobind Behari Lal Collection. This collection, ranging from circa 1945 to 1979. includes 8 cartons of papers, notebooks, photographs, and other items related to Gobind Behari Lal, who came to UC Berkeley in 1912 on a scholarship, joined the Gadar Party, and participated in the Indian independence movement. He later worked as a science journalist for Hearst newspapers, becoming the first Indian-American to win a Pulitzer Prize. 

Henry Morse Stephens Collection. This is an early bequest in 1919 of an important collection relating to British India and Indian history. 

Kipling Collection. This collection on Rudyard Kipling was begun in 1919 and expanded by a major purchase in 1963 of rare and scarce materials, first editions, manuscripts, typescripts, and ephemera. 

Krishnabai Nimbkar CollectionThis was a gift in 1955 from Dr. Krishnabai Nimbkar's collection on India's Congress Party, including correspondence, papers, pamphlets, and policy statements.

Leo E. Rose Himalayan Collection. This collection was begun with extensive purchases made in Nepal by Professor Leo Rose on politics, history, and law in the 1950s and continued with purchases under the Himalayan Border Countries Program from 1960 to 1969 and is currently enhanced by acquisitions under the Library of Congress Acquisitions Program. This collection includes microfilm of portions of the holdings of the India Office Library, London and the Nation Archives in New Delhi on the Himalayan region, with a concentration on Nepal. It is especially strong on the 19th and early 20th century period and is a unique resource in the U.S. 

Maps of South Asia. The Earth Sciences & Map Library holds 4500 maps and nautical charts of South Asia, in addition to world maps and general maps of Asia and the Indian Ocean region. There are also 65 atlases and gazetteers of the area. 

S.K. (Swarna Kumar) Mitri LettersThis collection consists of four letters (10 p.) Mitri, a "Hindu student", wrote to a fellow student at the University of California Berkeley. It includes details of Mitra's life in Bengal, India, where he married against his family's wishes and tried to start a boycott of British goods. Mitri also writes about how he came to UC Berkeley, his feelings about the campus, and his attitudes toward "foreigners." 


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