Now a major motion picture starring Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard, directed by Stephen Frears
'A tale of Empire and intrigue brought vividly back to life' - VIKAS SWARUP, author of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old 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. 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 explores how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the Empire 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.
SHRABANI BASU is an author, journalist and historian. She has also written Curry: the Story of the Nation's Favourite Dish (2003) and Spy Princess: the Life of Noor Inayat Khan (2006). She is based in London.