Considered for the British Empire, «The jewel in the crown», when having lost its colonies in America, the British focused on the easy wealth of its most prosperous colony: the British Raj, a vast territory that occupied the present territories of India, Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan, these states were ruled by Hindu kings under British tutelage and were called the Princely States.
Queen Victoria was the First Empress of India from April 29, 1877 until her death, her reign was the longest in the history of Great Britain. The Victorian era was immersed in the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic and technological changes in the United Kingdom, these changes eventually consolidated the British nation as the first power of its time.
Although she was Empress of India, the Queen could not travel to her colonies because of the risk involved and to celebrate the Indian Jubilee two servants were brought to England, they were instructed in english manners upon before her and by being the first Indian subjects the queen has seen in her life, she felt a genuine curiosity for the nation that she already ruled as empress.
Victoria welcomed Karim to his royal court, he had spent months studying the label in preparation for such high distinction, he was a handsome 24-year-old with a lot of poise and elegance. When he appeared before the queen, he knelt down and kissed her feet, this surprised her greatly and he gained her confidence immediately.
Karim explained to the queen his native customs, he told her about the mangoes and she demanded one immediately (which was given to her rotten), since she was the Empress of India, he became her favorite servant and he even cooked for her chicken curry, this Exquisite dish soon became part of the queen’s usual diet. The friendship that arose between both earned him many enemies in the palace, he was known as ‘the Munshi’, he later on made his way thru the affections of Victoria as his servant and then as his personal dependent, an act that enraged the court.
When Victoria was planning a trip to the south of France and announced that Karim would accompany her, the royal house informed her that they would refuse to eat with him and when the queen made clear the disapproval of her attitude, they agreed to sit at the table with him. The queen always insisted that the hatred they felt towards her «friend» was due to a racial prejudice and that everyone was jealous of the «poor Munshi».
The officers of the Queen’s family, members of her family, especially her son, the Prince of Wales and the politicians were dragged into the controversy over their favorable treatment of Munshi, his enemies said he inflated his family’s background, they invented that he had syphilis and even that Victoria had be robbed. She always defended him furiously, often accusing those who criticized him as racist.
Queen Victoria lived always cloistered among her palaces and surrounded by ambitious courtiers, Karim was a light in the path of the last days of his life:
«I’m very fond of him,» she wrote. «He’s so good, kind and understanding … and he’s a real comfort for me.»