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Abdul Karim (The Munshi) Summary

Indian royal domestic servant in the UK

Abdul Karim (the Munshi) also known as Mohammed Abdul Karim   The Munshi  

Mohammed Abdul Karim (1863 – April 1909), known as "the Munshi", was an Indian attendant of Queen Victoria. He served her during the final fourteen years of her reign, gaining her maternal affection over that time. Karim was born the son of a hospital assistant near Jhansi in British India. In 1887, the year of Victoria's Golden Jubilee, Karim was one of two Indians selected to become servants to the Queen. Victoria came to like him a great deal and gave him the title of "Munshi" ("clerk" or "teacher"). Victoria appointed him to be her Indian Secretary, showered him with honours, and obtained a land grant for him in India. The close platonic relationship between Karim and the Queen led to friction within the Royal Household, the other members of which felt themselves to be superior to him. The Queen insisted on taking Karim with her on her travels, which caused arguments between her and her other attendants. Following Victoria's death in 1901, her successor, Edward VII, returned Karim to India and ordered the confiscation and destruction of the Munshi's correspondence with Victoria. Karim subsequently lived quietly near Agra, on the estate that Victoria had arranged for him, until his death at the age of 46.

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