Documents reveal Queen Victoria's fondness for her 'Indian John Brown'

Posted By: Staff
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London, March 27 (ANI): For more than a hundred years, Munshi Abdul Karim was looked down on for being a pretentious servant who had a prestigious image in the household of Queen Victoria.

Abdul got the Queen's committed care and attention after he arrived from India in 1887. He was known as the "Indian John Brown".

Feeling jealous of his influence on the Queen, all the evidences, which confirmed the record of the relationship, were destroyed on the orders of King Edward, son of Queen Victoria.

But according to new findings, Munshi's hand written 'autobiography', letters and photographs secretly held by the descendants of Munshi Abdul Karim, tell a completely different story about the relationship between the two.

The evidences, as shown to The Daily Telegraph, have come out in India and Pakistan.

The archive of letters graph the phenomenal way in which Abdul, the 24-year-old clerk from Agra was chosen to be one of the Indian table waiters to serve the Queen at the time of her Golden Jubilee. The documents explain the Queen's extraordinary concern and attention for Abdul. It is also an account of the discriminations he faced while he gained success.

"While I record of my life I cannot but call to mind the many honours which have fallen to my lot and all through the great goodness of Her Majesty. I pray to the Almighty for the richest blessings to be showered down on our good Queen Empress," he wrote.

Abdul has expressed his fear and anxiety when he first met the 'Great Empress' during which he is said to have kissed her feet.

"I was somewhat nervous at the approach of the Great Empress accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and Princess Beatrice. Dr Tyler [his patron] at once did homage, whilst I did the same in oriental style," he wrote.

Abdul had a great and quick impact on the Queen's household.

The Queen within a year was so impressed with Abdul Karim that she appointed him "Munshi-an Indian Clerk to the Queen Empress at a salary of 12 pounds per month".

Abdul in his autobiography exults on being clicked "assisting her majesty in the study of the Hindustani language".

Abdul later started keeping company with the Queen on Europe tours and also her meetings with prime ministers and royals.

On the Christmas of 1893, the Queen sent Abdul a Christmas tree and gifted him his own horse-drawn carriage and driver.

The Queen introduced Abdul to several important people from her government and the empire.

Along with the growing impact of Abdul on the Queen, the bitterness within the royal family also saw a rise.

"The Queen insists on bringing the Munshi forward, and if it were not for our protest, I don't know where she would stop. But it is no use, for the Queen says that it is 'race prejudice' and that we are jealous of the poor Munshi," Abdul wrote.

Munshi was compared with John Brown, the Queen's previous attendant. She and Abdul spent a night at Glassat Shiel, the isolated Loch Muick cottage, where she had once spent a night with John.

Although the facts tell a bigger picture, Karim's autobiography depicts a passionless relationship between the two. The descendants of Abdul have described this relationship more as a motherly one since the Queen was 42 years older than Abdul.

According to Javed Mohammed, 63, Munshi's great grandson Abdul has been impersonated as "a social climber who was having some sort of illicit relationship with her, but it was like a mother and son relationship. She became an Indophile in part because of her affection for him. But the prejudice of her family percolated down to Victoria's staff". (ANI)

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