Word arrests Time
And Time is on the move –
I think images
I paint them
On an invisible canvas.
                              – Sadaf Munshi

My creative journey is centered around exploring the transformative power of verbal and visual arts. I like to challenge myself by pushing my limits into new dimensions and domains. Working across various disciplines, my creative expressions have found a niche in the magical world of word, color and music. And it is in these different realms that I find my creative endeavors navigating between the two primordial aspects of existence, viz., order and chaos. My inspiration comes from everyday encounters with people, objects and environment, and my motivation is a continued urge to connect with them.  

About me

I am a documentary linguist, creative writer and artist of Kashmiri origin. My multi-dimensional interests are enriched by my curiosity to learn and my extensive travel experiences in India, Pakistan, Iran, Europe, and North America. 

I was born and raised in Srinagar where I spent my formative years and completed my early education. I began my professional journey as a playwright for the state television Doordarshan in the mid 1990’s, while I was still in college. Amidst a deteriorating political situation in Kashmir with very little scope for artistic activities, I left my hometown. I spent four years in the Indian capital, New Delhi, while pursuing postgraduate studies in Linguistics at the University of Delhi. In 2001, I traveled to the United States to join a doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. I completed my Ph.D. in 2006 and joined the University of North Texas as a faculty in the same year. My research on endangered and undocumented languages and linguistic traditions gave me an opportunity to travel to many remote and often inaccessible areas in India and Pakistan. I have also had several opportunities to visit Iran, Canada, and various European countries.

Aside from linguistic research and academics, I have published articles and essays on topics related to language, society, culture, politics and gender. I have been a regular columnist for many newspapers, including Kashmir Observer, Rising Kashmir, and Kashmir Times, besides contributing to various other media outlets and/or magazines in India and elsewhere including Huffington Post, Economic and Political Weekly, Cerebrations, TheSpaceInk.com, and Scroll.Inn, among others.

A polyglot, I write in Kashmiri, English and Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu). Some of my satirical ballads in Kashmiri have been broadcast on the state television in Jammu & Kashmir. In 2021, a collection of my poems appeared in a special issue of The Punch – a leading literary magazine in India, featuring the leading contemporary poets of Indian origin.

While exploring the poetic and musical traditions of South and Central Asia, I started learning one of the earliest musical instruments of Iran and Kashmir, viz., santūr. My exposure to santūr has been instrumental in enriching my understanding of the Kashmiri and Persian language and music through poetry and song. It also provided me an opportunity to work with some world-class musicians on the Voices and Bridges Project as a linguistic and academic advisor.

Besides my interest in creative writing, poetry, and music, I am a self-taught visual artist and art critic. I have explored and worked in different media including oil, watercolor, and multimedia. An exhibition of my paintings organized by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 2014 was the first solo painting exhibition by a female artist of Kashmiri origin.

Click here to see my academic profile.

2 responses to “”

  1. Hi Sadaf, this is Randall M. Good, we met last night at the Sibley’s home. I just wanted to tell you that it was nice to meet you and I have very much enjoyed looking at your work here on your website. Wonderful artwork and writing!


    1. Hi Randall,

      Thank you. So glad to hear from you. It was a great pleasure to see your amazing work at the Sibley’s residence. I am enjoying looking at your incredible works on your website. I hope to stay in touch and see more of your work.


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