Ghashiram Kotwal ia a Marathi play written by playwright Vijay Tendulkar in 1972. The play is a political satire, written as historical drama. Based on the life of Nana Phadnavis (1741-1800), one of the prominent ministers in the court of the Peshwa of Pune. Its theme is how men in power give rise to ideologies to serve their purposes, and later destroy them whem they become useless. It was first performed on 16 December 1972, by the progressive Drama Association in Pune.
The play begins with an invocation to lord Ganesha. Then the Brahmins of Pune introduce themselves and we can see the morally corrupt state of affairs in Pune. Nana Phadnavis who is the Diwan (Chief Secretary) of Pune is also corrupt and visits the lavani dancer. Ghashiram is working with the lavani dancer. Ghashiram being a Brahmin goes to collect alms at the Peshwa's festival the next day. However he is ill-treated there and is charged with pickpocketing and imprisoned for the offence. He then decides to take revenge.
Ghashiram barters his own daughter to get the post of Kotwal (police chief) of Pune From Nana. Having got the post he begins to enforce strict rules in the city. He starts asking for permits for everything and starts throwing people in jail for the smallest offenses. In the mean time, Ghashiram's daughter is impregnated by Nana, and dies during childbirth. The situation goes out of hand when a few people in the jail die out of suffocation. The Brahmins then complain to the Peshwa. The Peshwa summons Nana who orders Ghashiram to be killed in the most derogatory way possible.