Word arrests Time
And Time is on the move —
I think images
I paint them
On an invisible canvas.
— Sadaf Munshi
Sadaf Munshi is a US-based linguist, writer, poet, visual artist, and critic. Born and raised in Kashmir, she started her career in the 1990’s as a playwright for the state television Doordarshan, while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biosciences in Srinagar, her hometown which she completed in 1996. With little scope for artistic and cultural activities during the peak of militancy and political turmoil, she decided to leave Kashmir and traveled to the Indian capital in pursuit of higher education. She did an M.A. (1999) and an M.Phil. (2001) in Linguistics from the University of Delhi. In 2001 she moved to the United States of America for a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin which she completed in 2006.
Having started her journey as a small-town girl in conservative Kashmir, Munshi has made various leaps and bounds as a person of multi-faceted interests. Her linguistic research, funded by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, focuses on the documentation of endangered and moribund languages of Jammu and Kashmir in India and northern areas of Pakistan. She has a particular interest in the endangered poetic traditions of these areas and their connection with the Central Asian traditions. With a strong interest and background in languages as diverse as Kashmiri, Burushaski, Hindi/Urdu, Romani, Mankiyali, Sanskrit, Persian, French, and English, her teaching and research areas have a broad historical and comparative focus.
As a writer and a regular columnist, Munshi has published numerous articles on myriad topics related to society, culture, language, gender and politics, with a special focus on Kashmir. Besides creative writing and poetry, she has a great obsession for painting and music. A self-taught visual artist, Munshi has produced numerous pieces of art in oil, watercolor, and multi-media. An exhibition of her artworks in watercolor and oil, held by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Language in 2014, was the first solo exhibition of paintings by a female artist in the state. She is also been invited to review works of art as a critic and a visual artist.
Click here to see Sadaf Munshi’s academic profile.