Victoria & Abdul : The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant

Victoria & Abdul : The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant

Product ID: 27019

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Author: Shrabani Basu
Publisher: Rupa
Year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 229
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788129115683


The tall handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. An assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, he suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. Within a year, he was established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen's teacher, or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Devastated by the death of John Brown, her Scottish gillie, the queen had at last found his replacement. But her Munshi led to a near-revolt in the royal household.

Victoria & Abdul examines how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the Empire, and his influence over the queen at a time when independence movements in the sub-continents were growing in force. Yet, at its heart it is a tender love story between an ordinary Indian and his elderly queen, a relationship that survived the best attempts to destroy it.


‘A tale of Empire and intrigue, brought vividly back to life’


Author’s Note
Dramatic Personae

1. Agra
2. A Jubilee Present
3. An Indian Durbar
4. Curries and Highlanders
5. Becoming the Munshi
6. A Grant of Land
7. Indian Affairs
8. The Viceroy Receives a Christmas Card
9. The Household Conspired
10. Rebellion in the Ranks
11. ‘Munshimania’
12. Redemption
13. Death of a Queen
14. Last Days in Agra
15. Endgame

Notes and Sources