Timsal Masud

Timsal Masud
Assistant Instructional Professor
Foster 009
Office Hours: Wednesdays 3:00 – 4:00 PM & By Appointment
Ph.D., University of Lucknow, 2008
Teaching at UChicago since 2019
Research Interests: Urdu language and literature, poetry, and translation studies


Timsal Masud is an Assistant Instructional Professor of Urdu language and literature, translator, editor, and textbook author. He completed a PhD at Lucknow University in 2008, where he studied trends in Urdu translations of modern Persian short-stories. Since completing his PhD, he has continued to remain interested in translation. He published Urdu translations of The Little Prince and Patrick Süskind's The Story of Mr. Sommer. While teaching languages classes, he noticed the need for a concise, user-friendly Urdu dictionary. This inspired him to write the Essential Urdu Dictionary, which was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2015. He has also revised an Urdu textbook, and he is completing a co-edited reader of Urdu texts for the classroom.

His research interests include translation and poetry, particularly marsiya (elegy). He edited a collection of Urdu’s most renowned marsiya poet Mir Anis (1803-1875). This collection entitled, Mir Anis Ke Marsiye (Marsiya poems of Mir Anis), has more than 36000 couplets and will appear in three volumes. He secured a publisher for this extensive publication in Pakistan.

Recently, he completed a critical analysis of Urdu marsiya’s print and oral culture that focuses specifically on Mir Anis. Despite his wide popularity and the widespread use of print during this time, Mir Anis for the most part refused to publish his work (the collection of his works was published after his death). In this essay, Timsal asks what Mir Anis’s hesitation tells us about the relationship between oral performing cultures, particularly marsiya, and print. 

Currently, Peter Knapczyk and Timsal Masud are translating the marsiya poems of the 18th century poet Muhammad Ali Sikandar. Sikandar’s language is a vital source for understanding the development of the language that today we know as Urdu. Sikandar’s poems incorporated Braj, Avadhi, Khadi, Punjabi, and Marwadi, alongside Arabic and Persian. This work will be useful for the classroom and in particular for students interested in reading early Hindi and Urdu literature

He has also started transliterating Urdu works to the Devanagri script to reach a wider audience in India. Currently, he is working on a series of books about Awadh's last king, Wajid Ali Shah. The first book of this series is Lucknow ka Shahi Stage (The Royal Stage of Lucknow) by Masud Hasan Rizvi Adeeb.

He publishes regularly in Urdu literary magazines and write a bi-weekly column for the Urdu newspaper AAG, where he relates current events to historical documents and to Hindi-Urdu literature. http://dailyaag.com/epapers/epaper/edition/5029/sunday-aag/page/4



  • First year Urdu
  • Third year Urdu
  • Fourth year/Advanced Reading in Urdu
  • Indo-Islamic Literature and Culture course
Subject Area: Urdu