After arriving from the subcontinent in 1887, he quickly won the monarch's devoted affection and became known as the "Indian John Brown".
His influence over the queen was so envied that when Victoria died her son King Edward ordered palace guards to destroy correspondence she sent to the Munshi to erase all record of their relationship.
But a new archive of letters, photographs and the Munshi's handwritten 'autobiography' shown to The Daily Telegraph, held secretly by his descendants for more than a century, has emerged in India and Pakistan which paints a different picture of Abdul Karim and his relationship with the Queen.
They chart the extraordinary rise of the 24-year-old clerk from Agra in Northern India who was picked as one of two Indian table waiters to serve Victoria during her Golden Jubilee. They reveal her "maternal" care and concern for his welfare and the hostility and racism Victoria believed he faced as he made his ascent.
He wrote: "This is the journal of my life at the court of Queen Victoria from the Golden Jubilee of 1887 to the Diamond Jubilee of 1897. I've been but a sojourner in a strange land and among a strange people.
"I came to England as an orderly to the queen. I must mention that the word 'orderly' as understood by us in India means one who has to accompany the sovereign or prince on horseback. It's a much higher position than an orderly in the British Army …. who is a personal servant.
"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 records his apprehension at his first meeting with 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.
His impact on the royal household was immediate. He introduced curry to their menu and soon began teaching the Queen to speak Urdu.
By the following year Victoria was so pleased with her orderly that she appointed him "Munshi and Indian Clerk to the Queen Empress at a salary of 12 pounds per month".
He records his pride at being photographed "assisting her majesty in the study of the Hindustani language," and being awarded the Eastern Star medal and lands in Agra.
He began accompanying the Queen on her tours of Europe and to her meetings with other royals and prime ministers.
During a holiday to India in 1890, Abdul Karim recalls how "as Munshi to the Great Queen Empress, I called on the Viceroy Lord Lansdowne" and was invited to his 'durbar' or court.
By the following year, the Munshi had his own servants in the royal household and by the end of 1893, the Queen had sent him a Christmas tree and given him his own horse-drawn carriage and driver.
He records how the queen began introducing him to key figures in her government and the empire, including William Gladstone and Sir Mortimer Durand, the architect of the 'Durand Line' border between today's Pakistan and Afghanistan. He recalls how he was ordered to brief the Secretary of State for India on the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
But as his influence grew so too did resentment within the royal family itself and among her household staff.
By 1897, Fritz Ponsonby, her assistant private secretary, had written to Sir Henry Babbington-Smith, the Viceroy's private secretary asking for information to discredit him.
"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," he wrote.
Comparisons with John Brown, Victoria's devoted Highland ghillie, were later made after Victoria spent a night with Abdul Karim at Glassat Shiel, the isolated Loch Muick cottage she once shared with Brown but had not visited since his death.
But despite the innuendo, Abdul Karim's 'autobiography' records only a platonic relationship which his descendants describe as 'maternal' – Victoria was 42 years his senior.
When Victoria died in January 1901, the future King Edward VII and daughter Princess Beatrice finally had their revenge on the man whose influence they resented. They ordered the Munshi's son to bring out all the papers in front of their cottage at Osborne and made a bonfire of them in front of him.
The bad feeling between Victoria's Munshi and the new King is revealed in a letter from his private secretary to Abdul Karim in the week's following Victoria's death.
It reveals Abdul Karim's feeling that he had been discriminated against and denied honours given to members of the royal household junior to him.
"His majesty desired me to write to tell you he was sorry that you should have written to him complaining that you had not been promoted to a higher grade than you now hold in the Victorian Order. I am further to remind you that in addition to the Victorian Order you have had a companionship of the Indian Empire. His majesty is therefore at a loss to conceive what cause you have for any 'disappointment," his secretary wrote.
The Munshi's great grandson, Javed Mahmood, 63, said he had been portrayed 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," he said.
Abdul Karim (the Munshi)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Karim_(the_Munshi)