Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queens Closest Confidant by Shrabani BasuThe tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victorias 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 queens 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 intense and controversial relationship with the 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-continent 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.
VICTORIA AND ABDUL Trailer (2017)
Victoria and Abdul: The Friendship that Scandalized England
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The family evicted Karim from the home the queen had given him, and deported him back to India. But why was the relationship so controversial—beyond the interclass curiosity of the Queen of England confiding in a servant—that it warranted full censure? Victoria also commissioned multiple portraits of Karim—which would be the key to discovering the depth of their relationship more on that later. Dench also starred as Victoria in the movie adaptation of that tongue-wagging palace relationship, Mrs. Did Victoria catch wind of the racist animosity swirling in her palace? She sure did.
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She led a grand procession to Westminster Abbey in open carriage, escorted by the Indian cavalry, greeted screaming crowds on her palace balcony, and enjoyed fireworks in the garden. Queen Victoria in turn showered him with gifts, titles and honors, much to the resentment of the royal family. When the queen died in , her children burned every letter she sent Karim, whom they unceremoniously deported back to India. Yet his record lives on, thanks in large part to his diary, preserved by generations of descendants. As Basu recounts in her book of the same name, Karim was born near Jhansi, the second-oldest child of six. His father, Haji Wuzeeruddin, was a hospital assistant, a skilled position that required some medical qualifications. While this occupation did not place Wuzeeruddin in the upper class, it was a good job, one that allowed him to hire a Maulvi, or Muslim scholar, to tutor his son.