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.
Just how did a young Indian Muslim come 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?
‘I am so very fond of him. He is so good & gentle & understanding... & is a real comfort to me.’ - Queen Victoria
This tender love story between an ordinary Indian and his elderly queen is now a major feature film starring Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon and Eddie Izzard and directed by Stephen Frears.