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Swami is a Marathi historical novel that is based on the life of Peshwa Madhavrao 1.
Summary Of The Book
Swami is a book that chronicles the life of Madhavrao 1, a man who was handed the task of ruling an empire when he was just 16 years of age. Peshwa Madhavrao was the son of Nanasaheb Peshwa. During his time, the Maratha Empire covered a vast portion of central, western, and northern India. However, by the time of Nanasaheb’s death, the empire was thrown in chaos. The defeat suffered by the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat had resulted in heavy losses. Madhavrao’s elder brother Vishwasrao was dead, and soon, Nanasaheb also breathed his last.
Madhavrao was crowned as Peshwa when he was just 16 years old. Initially, he had to face opposition from his own family. His uncle Raghunathrao defeated him and took control of the empire. But his move to befriend the Nizam backfired, as the Nizam used this to his own advantage. This eventually led to Madhavrao regaining power. Eventually, the Maratha army under Madhavrao defeated the Nizam’s army.
Madhavrao also waged war with Hyder Ali, who was a tough opponent. His relationship with his uncle also began to deteriorate rapidly, finally ending in a confrontation between their armies. Raghunathrao was defeated and placed under house arrest.
Swami traces the life of Madhavrao through all the above incidents to his death at a young age due to tuberculosis.
The book explores his relationship with his mother, Gopikabai, and his wife Ramabai. It also explores his stormy relationship with his uncle, Raghunathrao. Although his mother moved away and started living separately for various reasons, the two always remained very close, and their love for each other was evident through their frequent exchange of letters.
The book paints a picture of the love between Madhavrao and Ramabai, who were married at a very young age. He had a special garden constructed for her, and Ramabai committed Sati on the funeral pyre of her husband, unable to bear his loss.
This historical novel brings out the nuances of the main character’s attributes and his relationship with his friends and enemies. It also highlights his administrative skills. Madhavrao was an able administrator and general who brought order to the Maratha Empire. He was also a ruler who was easily accessible to the general public, which made him very dear to them.
About Ranjeet Desai
Ranjeet Desai was a Marathi writer who won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book, Swami.
Some of the other books written by him are Madhumati, Megh, Jaan, and Kamodini - all short story collections. Kanchan Mrug, Warasa, Lok Nayak, and Swami are plays written by Desai.
He was born in 1928 in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. His short stories and plays were extremely popular, and he also wrote movie scripts. The book, Swami, also fetched him other awards like the Hari Narayan Apte Award.