Etymologically speaking, the word Saloko comes from the Sanskrit root, śloka, roughly meaning hymn or prayer. Thought of as a poetic form used predominantly in Sanskrit, śloka is considered as the Indian verse par excellence. Even for those Ṣūfīs who composed mainly in the vernaculars of South Asia, śloka was not a preferred poetic mode of expression.
However, Ali Jan S. Damani has recently transliterated an unpublished poetic work composed in śloka style attributed to an Ismāʿīlī-Ṣūfī dignitary, Pīr Shams (d. 1356), who is enshrined in present-day Multan, Pakistan. This composition by Pīr Shams is entitled Satgur Jo Saloko (Hymns of the true guide) and is 700 verses long, making it the largest known composition in the śloka style by any Muslim saintly figure. The original manuscript from which the transliteration has been made is housed at Harvard.
The significance of Damani’s contribution is that it will aid scholars from fields as diverse as Ṣūfī, Ismāʿīlī, Gujarati, and broadly, Islamic studies to understand the complexity of the Indo-Muslim traditions.
The transliteration can be found at:
About Ali Jan Damani
Ali Jan is currently working to produce the Khojkī script tutorials which are expected to be completed before the end of this year. His other projects include but are not limited to: A critical edition of a unique Ismāʿīlī Ginān, named Manhar; translation of Man Samjāṇī (a ginān) of Pir Shams; life, history and works of Saiyyada Imām Begum; cataloguing of khojkī manuscripts; and, unearthing unpublished ginānic texts from manuscript sources.