Sane Guruji's original name was Pandurang Sadashiv Sane. He was a well known social reformer, gandhian and freedom fighter. He participated in various satyagrahas and was jailed by the British government.
In the 4 walls of the jail, his literary gift was awakened and he penned down several books which were in reality his narrations to the fellow prisoners.
Shyam is what Sane Guruji's mother called him. Sane Guruji starts with the fond memories of of his mother. His mother who is married into a good brahmin house is very loving and caring towards Shyam and has a very strict focus on his character building. As time passes by we see through Shyam's eyes the misery that his debt ridden family had to go through and yet his father and mother's attempt to give him the best possible education and shower him with all the love in the world.
Eventually one fateful day his mother passes away living behind only memories and tears for the little Shyam.
This is the crux of the entire story. This book is probably the most sold book in entire marathi literature.