Published: 2017 (updated edition)
ISBN : 9789387146174
Young and handsome, a 24 year old Abdul, is dispatched to Agra to present the Queen with a ‘mohar’ for her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The young Indian man, immediately catches the elderly Queen’s attention and what was supposed to be a short trip becomes a temporary arrangement. Abdul Karim and his companion Mohammed Buksh soon find themselves waiting tables for her Majesty.
Though Buksh remains in the position of a servant, Abdul escalates to higher positions strikingly fast, much to the consternation of the entire household.
He begins to share with his Queen, tales from India, who is fascinated by this land she rules but is barred to visit. Abdul Karim becomes the Queen’s Munshi or Teacher and gives her lessons in Hindustani. Over her lifetime, the longest living monarch despite her rigorous duties of ruling the biggest empire in the world manages to finish 13 hefty volumes of her diaries with her Urdu lessons.
In a country where he was alone, from being a servant, to moving in the upper echelons of English as well as Indian aristocracy, the rise and rise of Abdul Karim was phenomenal. This did not go down unnoticed by the household who hated every move he made and read deeper into everything he did. They did their best to defame him and convince the queen to get rid of him.
Shrabani Basu weaves the tale of an Empress, a mother, a friend and a humble servant with her beautiful words seamlessly blending into each other. The beauty and genius of her narration lies in the fact that this non fiction seems almost like fiction. Who said reality could not be magical?
The future rulers did everything in their power to destroy the presence of this young man from the face of history who was the friend and companion of the Kaiser-e-Hind in the last years of her life. But as they say , the truth will be uncovered someday.
Interspersed with personal diary entries, authentic pictures, newspaper reports and articles, this well researched book gives a new insight into the Queen’s personal life. Her Majesty’s enthusiasm for the Oriental , her high esteem of her Indian subjects and her dedication to know and understand the language of the country she was a ruler of, all stemmed from one man, Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim.
This is the true story of the unbelievable friendship between the Queen Victoria of royal blood and a humble man of no lineage. The friendship between The Crown and a servant. A beautiful story that is also the truth.
Link to buy the book – Victoria (Movie Tie-in): The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant https://www.amazon.in/dp/0525434410/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_GdF.zbB32Y2FY