Swami and Friends

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Swami and Friends
Swami and Friends (Malgudi Schooldays) cover.jpg
Cover of Malgudi Schooldays 2009 Puffin Classics edition
Author RK Narayan
Cover artist RK Laxman
Country India
Language English language
Genre Novel
Publisher Hamilton
Publication date
Media type Print
ISBN 978-0-09-928227-3
OCLC 360179
Followed by The Bachelor of Arts

Swami and Friends is the first of a trilogy of novels written by RK Narayan (1906–2001), English language novelist from India. The novel, Narayan's first, is set in British India in a fictional town called Malgudi. The second and third books in the trilogy are The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher.

Malgudi Schooldays is a slightly abridged version of Swami and Friends, and includes two additional stories featuring Swami from Malgudi Days and Under the Banyan Tree.[1]


Swami and Friends is the first novel written by Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanswami.[2] It was published through the intervention of a friend and neighbour ("Kittu" Purna) who was studying at Oxford. Through him, Graham Greene came into contact with Narayan's work, became especially interested in it and took it upon himself to place the book with a reputable English publisher (Hamish Hamilton).[3] Graham Greene was responsible for the title Swami and Friends, changing it from Narayan's Swami, the Tate, suggesting that it would have the advantage of having some resemblance to Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co..[4]

Greene arranged the details of the contract and remained closely involved until the novel was published. Narayan's indebtedness to Greene is inscribed on the inside cover of a copy of Swami and Friends Narayan presented to Greene: "But for you, Swami should be in the bottom of Thames now".[4]


Swami and Friends is an episodic narrative recounting the adventures of a group of schoolboys in British India in the early 1930s.[2] In a 2011 review, The Guardian newspaper called the novel "one of the world's best English novels by an Indian author".[5]

Albert Mission School friends[edit]

  • Swaminathan: A good ten-year-old boy studying at Albert Mission School, Malgudi. He lives in Vinayaka Mudali Street. He is later transferred to Board High School. Rajam and Mani's friend.[6]
  • Mani: Swami's classmate at Albert Mission School, lives in Abu Lane, he is known as Mighty good for nothing. Carries around a club sometimes, and threatens to beat his enemies to a pulp.
  • Rajam: Swami's classmate at Albert Mission School, lives in Lawley Extension. His father is the Deputy Police Superintendent of Malgudi. He previously studied at an English Boys' School, Madras. He is also the Captain of Malgudi Cricket Club (Victory Union Eleven). His father gets transferred to Trichinopoly.
  • Somu : Monitor of 1st Form A Section, lives in Kabeer Street. He fails in 1st Form and is "automatically excluded from the group".
  • Sankar: Swami's classmate in 1st Form A Section. His father gets transferred at the end of the term. He is the most brilliant boy of the class.
  • Samuel ("The Pea"): Swami's classmate in 1st Form A Section. He is known as "The Pea" because of his height.

Staff at Albert Mission School[edit]

  • Headmaster of the school
  • Vedanayagam: class-teacher of 1st Form A Section, teaches English and Arithmetic
  • D P Pillai: history teacher at Albert Mission School
  • Ebenezer: scripture master at Albert Mission School(moral science teacher)
  • Singaram: peon at Albert Mission School
  • Samuel: Arithmetic teacher. Sometimes also teaches History.

Swami's house[edit]

  • WT Srinivasan: Swami's father, a lawyer
  • Lakshmi: Swami's mother, Homemaker
  • Swami's grandmother (father's mother)
  • Swami's late grandfather (Sub-Magistrate)
  • Swami's little brother
  • Cook

Other characters[edit]

  • Gauri Sankar: A Congress leader of Bombay
  • Ranga: A tailor in Malgudi
  • Hentel: The mill manager
  • Krishnan: Executive Engineer
  • Retty: Rice mill owner
  • Karuppan: Bullock cart driving boy from Sethur
  • Akbar Ali: Swami's classmate in 2nd Form, C Section at Board High School
  • Rama Rao: Geography teacher at Board High School
  • T. Kesavan: Physician at LM & S Sri Krishna Dispensary
  • Mohideen: A batsman in Young Men's Union
  • Shanmugam: A bowler in Young Men's Union
  • MPS Nair: District Forest Officer
  • Ranga: The bullock-cart driver

Malgudi Cricket Club (MCC) vs Young Men's Union (YMU)[edit]

  • Result: MCC won
  • Played at MCC Home Ground, Malgudi
  • Sunday (1-day match)
  • Toss YWU, who chose to bat

Playing conditions[edit]

  1. The YMU should be in the field [MCC Home Ground] promptly at 11'O clock
  2. The YMU should carry their own bats, while the stumps would be graciously supplied by the MCC
  3. The YMU should bring and keep in stock a couple of balls. Reason: YMU batsmen might hit YMU balls and not break MCC balls
  4. The YMU players had better look out for themselves in regard to lunch
  5. The YMU players shall pay for breaking bats, balls, wickets and other damages [windows and tiles of the house adjoining the MCC field]

Cricketers mentioned[edit]


  1. Monday Morning
  2. Rajam and Mani
  3. Swami's Grandmother
  4. What is a Tail?
  5. Father's Room
  6. A Friend in Need
  7. A New Arrival
  8. Before the Examinations
  9. School Breaks Up
  10. The Coachman's Son
  11. In Father's Presence
  12. Broken Panes
  13. The M. C. C.
  14. Granny Shows Her Ignorance
  15. Before the Match
  16. Swami Disappears
  17. The Day of the Match
  18. The Return
  19. Parting Present

Cultural depictions[edit]


  1. ^ Username * (2009-11-15). "Malgudi Schooldays". Penguin Books India. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  2. ^ a b "R.K. Narayan (Indian author) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  3. ^ Pier Paolo Piciucco, A companion to Indian fiction in English 2004, Atlantic Publishers & Dist
  4. ^ a b Pier Paolo Piciucco, A Companion to Indian Fiction in English (2004) Atlantic Publishers & Dist
  5. ^ pinkbookworm. "Swami and Friends by RK Narayan - review | Children's books". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  6. ^ ws
  7. ^ "'You acted exactly as I imagined Swami to be'". Rediff.com. 16 May 2001. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "The return of Malgudi Days". Rediff.com. July 21, 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 

External links[edit]