Photo from Sadaf Munshi (2)

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

I am a linguist, writer, poet, visual artist, and critic. Born and raised in Kashmir, I started my career in the 1990’s as a playwright for the state television Doordarshan, while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biosciences in Srinagar, my hometown. With little scope for artistic and cultural activities during the peak of militancy and political turmoil, I decided to leave Kashmir and traveled to the Indian capital in pursuit of higher education. I did an M.A. (1999) and an M.Phil. (2001) in Linguistics from the University of Delhi. In 2001 I moved to the United States of America for a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. I joined the University of North of North Texas in 2006, where I am currently serving as a Professor of Linguistics in the College of Information. I also served as the Department Chair from 2018-2022.

Having started my journey as a small-town girl in conservative Kashmir, I 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. I have 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, my teaching and research areas have a broad historical and comparative focus.  

As a writer and a regular columnist, I have 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, I have a great obsession for painting and music. A self-taught visual artist, I have produced numerous pieces of art in oil, watercolor, and multi-media. An exhibition of my 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. I have also been invited to review works of art as a critic and a visual artist. 

Click here to see my academic profile.

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