Hajnalka specializes in the Persian and Urdu literature of the Indian Subcontinent. She studied both Indian and Iranian Studies at Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences (ELTE), Budapest, as well as Urdu literature at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She received her PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago; her dissertation and research focuses on the poetry and mystical thought of the celebrated Indo-Persian poet Mirza ʿAbd al-Qadir Bedil (1644–1720).
Prior to coming to Harvard, Hajnalka held postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford University and the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, and worked at the Asian and African Department of the British Library. At Harvard, in addition to Hindi-Urdu she offers a reading course in Indo-Persian literature. She devotes her spare time to “solving the difficulties of the intricacies of expression” in Bedil’s poetry and prose.