For the sixteen year old Madhavrao who succeeded Nanasaheb, it was not a piece of cake. The coffers were empty, the royal court was fraught with internal dissensions. Madhavrao could not go along with his uncle, Raghunathrao, who wanted to be the Peshwa, and went to any extent including looting his own subjects. The Nizam, Hyder, and the British had set their eyes on the Maratha empire.
Swami is based on the life and character of Madhavrao who resurrected the Maratha empire. He revived the lost glory and pride. The extent of the empire was now wider than before. He contained the enemy. Swami sketches the personal life of the Peshwa and specially poignant are the parts covering the discomfort he feels when Raghunathrao is a thorn in his flesh, and his untimely death. The novel throws light on the political, social and cultural history of the mid Peshwa era. The portrayal of the bond between Madhavrao and his wife, Ramabai, is a special feature.
Ranjit Desai (1928-1992) tackled the genre of novels with such ease that his collection includes all types of novels: historical, social, mythological, and biographical. He was also a playwright and has to his credit short stories.
Raja Ravi Varma is a biographical novel based on the life of the great painter. At a personal level, it covers his early life, training, relationship with the royal family of Travancore, his unsuccessful marriage, his involvement with other women, his fondness for his own people, his contacts with well known personalities, and the law suit he faced over showing goddesses semi-clad. The novel portrays effectively his early struggle, later success, his mode of working which included long preparation, his philosophy behind his work. A salient feature of the work is the light it throws on the life in a matriarchal family.
शास्त्री : वहिनीसाहेब, श्रीमंत गेले आणि मराठी दौलतीचा कणाच मोडला. पानिपताचा घाव यापुढे काहीच नाही. अवघ्या अकरा वर्षांच्या कारकीर्दीत बलाढ्य शत्रूंचं पारिपत्य करून पेशवाईचं कर्ज निवारणारा, पानिपताचा कलंक धुऊन काढणारा असा प्रजादक्ष पेशवा परत मिळणं कठीण! रमा : स्वारींना फार काळ तिष्ठत ठेवणं बरं नाही. आम्ही मंदिरात येऊ. चिंतामणीच्या साक्षीनं आम्ही स्वारींच्या मागून जाऊ. ‘स्वामी’ या अजरामर साहित्यकृतीचे नाट्य-रूपांतर!