Irrfan Khan gets candid

first_imgA small-screen actor who worked his way to Hollywood, receiving praise and critical acclaim along the way… Maqbool and Slumdog Millionaire are just a few movies he collected accolades for.To be or not to beMy dream was to learn acting, and attending the National School of Drama (New Delhi), changed my life. It has given me a different way of looking at things and myself. Drama school plays a very important role in an actor’s life, but you should be serious about the craft. If you just want to get popular and become a hero, it’s not for you. If you’re passionate, it gives you the aptitude and the direction you need.The returnsWhen it comes to awards and recognition, my Padma Shri probably means the most to me. It tells me how my fans and well wishers have reacted to me emotionally. It makes me think about how much people care and value my work and how personal it feels for them, that it matters to them.A philosophical sideLife is not 2+2 = 4. Life could be 2+2 = 100. That is why you say yeh saali zindagi! It is not logical or calculated. It is magical – something beyond calculation or comprehension. So dream your dream, and live your life…Hollywood beckonsIf I’m offered a role that gives me the opportunity to explore something new, that is what I look forward to. I am not there to create headlines about what I’m wearing at a premier; that doesn’t matter and I don’t want to get caught in that either. (He is currently shooting for the next franchise of Spiderman that’ll be released next year.)advertisementPlaying sportI hope to catch some World Cup matches if time permits. I like this team and Dhoni. I admire his attitude – I think he is the best captain I have seen after Steve Waugh. He is at such ease with himself, which is why he is so composed with his team. I love Sehwag’s playing style; when he is batting I want to go home and watch his innings. But Dhoni is special; the way he deals with pressure situations; he is fascinating – just super!The family manI try to spend as much time as I can with my family – we fly kites, play football, computer games, swim, sometimes we just get bored together! I also love going out of the city, out in the wilderness, being one with Nature. I try to cook whenever I get the time; to me cooking is like meditation. When it comes to eating, I do watch what I eat; everything in moderation is what I believe in. And I stay away from processed foods.last_img read more

How militants fighting Pakistan’s covert war with India are trained for battle, martyrdom

first_imgTARGET INDIA: A model of a Ghauri missile in Muzaffarabad, 182 km from SrinagarFour bearded militants warm themselves at a gas heater in an Islamabad safe house. A wireless set suddenly crackles. “Our boys have entered Srinagar Airport,” a grave, distant-sounding voice announces.The voice, speaking in Urdu and broadcasting from,TARGET INDIA: A model of a Ghauri missile in Muzaffarabad, 182 km from SrinagarFour bearded militants warm themselves at a gas heater in an Islamabad safe house. A wireless set suddenly crackles. “Our boys have entered Srinagar Airport,” a grave, distant-sounding voice announces.The voice, speaking in Urdu and broadcasting from deep within India’s part of Kashmir, is detailing the progress of a suicide mission by Lashkar-e-Toiba, a ruthless, Pakistan-based militant group waging war to wrest Kashmir from India. Other militant groups in Pakistan can tune in to the same radio frequency.So can the Pakistani military. A phone in the house rings, and one of the men, all members of Lashkar-e-Toiba, answers. He is asked what’s happening. His reply: “Why don’t you find out from your side?” After hanging up, he explains the caller was a Pakistani army colonel.That scene occurred in early January. Five Lashkar operatives disguised as police officers attempted to attack the Srinagar airport that day. But Indian Army guards turned them away, and the operation was aborted. However, a second attempt a few days later succeeded, leaving six Lashkar-e-Toiba men and four policemen dead. Two civilians were killed and 12 injured.Since Kashmir erupted in 1989, India has pointed a blunt and unwavering finger at Pakistan, accusing it of fomenting the entire problem.It’s a large and cynical exaggeration: anti-Indian sentiment runs high within Kashmir, and in the first half of the 1990s, Kashmiris themselves provided the steam in the anti-Indian militant movement.They were disorganised and willing to murder, but passionate and anxious to plead their nationalist cause with the outside world.Today, however, India’s charge rings a lot truer. Despite a decade of denials – Islamabad insists it provides only moral and political support, not training or tangible aid – Pakistan is fuelling militant activity in Kashmir.advertisementOf the five main militant groups operating in Kashmir, four are based in Pakistan, where open recruiting and fundraising are commonplace. Training of militants is also done on Pakistani soil. The Pakistani military is deeply involved, especially in the smuggling of anti-Indian militants across the Line of Control.Militant groups have roots all over Pakistan, from well-equipped training centres in Muzaffarabad – the capital of Pakistan’s slice of Kashmir-and the North West Frontier Province to Lahore and Islamabad. Here is an inside look at how Pakistan runs its covert war in Kashmir:Recruiting and trainingThere are thousands of young, motivated Pakistani men anxious to join the militancy in Kashmir, which they consider a holy war. They come from all walks of life: not merely from the religious schools known as madarsas, or the far-flung, poverty-mired towns and villages, but also from Pakistan’s educated and westernised middle and upper classes.And for these highly religious volunteers, many of whom are still in their teens, there is nothing more sacred in life than achieving the status of a martyr. These are the grunts in the war. The leaders are Pakistani veterans of the Afghan war.LONG MARCH : Foreign militants on an uphill walk in south Kashmir. The fittest volunteers from the training camps cross over into India from forward posts of the Pakistani ArmyThe largest training camp in Pakistan is run by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a wing of an Afghan mujahideen group known as Markaz Al Dawa Wal Irshad. It is set on a vast mountain clearing overlooking Muzaffarabad. Armed men guard the facility round-the-clock. There are only two structures, one an armoury, the other a kitchen. Trainees live and sleep in the open. The field is dotted with installations used to teach the fervent young – some no older than 14 – how to cross a river, climb a mountain or ambush a military convoy.The day of a trainee begins at four in the morning. After offering prayers, the militants go for exercises. A breakfast of tea and bread is at eight, followed by a full day of rigorous drills, which are interrupted only for prayers and a simple lunch, usually rice and lentils.Coursework covers how to use sidearms, sniper rifles, grenades, rocket launchers and wireless radio sets, as well as the art of constructing bombs. The teachers are Lashkar veterans of action in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Sports, music and television are forbidden.Trainees are only allowed to read prescreened newspaper articles. Training is divided into two stages. The first three-week session gives religious education and basic knowledge of how to handle firearms.Once a volunteer has passed that course, which costs the organisation about $330 (about Rs 15, 500) per trainee, he is sent to a designated city or town, often near his birthplace, to work at the group’s offices and become more involved with the organisation.When a volunteer proves himself capable, motivated and loyal, he is enrolled in a special three-month commando boot camp, which costs the group $1,700 (roughly Rs 80, 000) per student. (The money is raised from overseas groups and the Pakistani public.)advertisementIn the final weeks, recruits use live ammunition, construct actual explosives and perfect ambush techniques. The final exam lasts three days. A group of trainees, sometimes as large as 100 individuals, hikes and climbs through high-altitude, wooded terrain for three days without food or sleep.They are not allowed to slow their pace except for a few naps. At the end the hungry and thirsty survivors are given a goat, a knife and a matchbox. That’s their reward, and they have to cook and eat it in warlike conditions.Going inOnly the fittest from each graduating group are given a chance at martyrdom across the border in Kashmir. The local commander makes his choice, and the fortunate few are despatched to safe houses along the Line of Control known as “launching pads”. At this point, the Pakistani Army plays a crucial role in helping to arrange the infiltration of the militants across the Line of Control.Militants officially deny Pakistani Army involvement, but those who fought in Kashmir tell Time that the wait at the launching pad is dictated by their leaders, who are in touch with the army. “Until an unmarked vehicle turns up at your safe house,” says a veteran of Al-Badr, the first Pakistan-based militant organisation to get members across the line, “you don’t know when your number will come.”When it does, this is what happens: “The vehicle, covered from all sides, will pick up two, three or four militants according to the plan and dump them at one of the forward posts of the Pakistani Army,” the Al-Badr veteran says. “People in civvies give us arms, ammunition, food and money [Indian currency].We are asked to check our weapons. After a day or two they give us the signal to go ahead.” The next step is the most hazardous: from the Pakistani Army post, the group embarks on a three-to-seven night journey into Indian-controlled Kashmir, travelling by night, hiding during the day.The group leader wears night-vision goggles. The rest follow blindly across the mountains. There are numerous obstacles: Indian mines, tracer flares, Indian border patrols anxious to shoot at them. “But whenever such a situation arises,” says a Lashkar militant, “the Pakistani guns come to our rescue to provide cover.”Militants making the return trip go through a reverse route, ending up at a Pakistani Army base. In the 1990s, the Pakistani militants hired local guides – ethnic Kashmiris – to help them get across the mountains and into India.”On a number of occasions,” says Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, 42, the supreme commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, “they took the money and tipped off the Indians. So we trained our own manpower.”advertisementIn other words, the Pakistani militants don’t always trust the Kashmiris on whose behalf they are waging this war. The Pakistani militancy, which had its roots in the Afghan war, is now an institution unto itself.last_img read more

Tough Kyrgyz test awaits India in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers

first_imgHigh on confidence following a six-game winning streak, India will face their toughest test this year when they take on Kyrgyzstan in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying round football match here tomorrow.India have come into the game after winning six official international matches on the trot, including a 2-0 victory over Nepal last week, and they would fancy their chances against the central Asians in the home leg tie at Sree Kanteerava Stadium. (Also read: ‘Beds for Travelling Fans’ campaign to help fans in Bengaluru for India vs Kyrgyz Republic match)The Stephen Constantine-coached Indian side are ranked at exactly 100 while Kyrgyzstan are 132nd in the latest FIFA rankings. Both the sides are tied at three points each from their opening fixture wins in Group A.Whoever win tomorrow will brighten their chances of qualifying for the main tournament in UAE in 2019. Two teams from each of the six groups will qualify for the 2019 tournament.Macau and Myanmar are the other two teams in Group A.We are wearing Blue tomorrow. #BackTheBlue #AsianDream #INDvKGZ pic.twitter.com/zr3C9UWx7W- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 12, 2017India had beaten Myanmar in the first match of their qualifying campaign, besides defeating Cambodia and Nepal in international friendlies this year. But, Kyrgyzstan are expected to provide the strongest test to the Indian side. The Central Asian side have come into the match after defeating Macau 1-0 at home.Both nations have locked horns on three occasions. India have won twice — in Nehru Cup 2007 and 2009 — but Kyrgyzstan won the last contest in the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup.advertisementConstantine may cherish some happy memories playing at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as his team had beaten Guam 1-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but Kyrgyzstan could be an acid test for him and his players.Udanta Singh, who has been a revelation for the Indian side, will be missing due to an injury, as also striker C K Vineeth, who has been a star performer for Bengaluru FC in the domestic season.Constantine may also be worried about playmaker Eugenson Lyngdoh as he has not had the best of run for BFC this season.Star striker Sunil Chhetri is certain to return after being rested against Nepal in Mumbai. Jeje Lalpekhlua, who scored against Nepal, would look to continue his good form.The inexperienced Indian defence is beginning to look good and Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika will hope to keep the Kyrgyzstan strikers at bay.Kyrgyzstan, on the other hand, will bank on their strikers Mirlan Murzaev and Vitaly Lux. Murzaev is good at aerial play and is an attacking player. Captain Azamat Baymatov and Tamirlan Kozubaev will man the central defence.It’s do or die tomorrow #IndianFootball #BackTheBlue #AsianDream #INDvKGZ pic.twitter.com/fPM0k0RATc- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 12, 2017All set to rock and roll. #BackTheBlue #AsianDream #INDvKGZ pic.twitter.com/u90qI1YpAG- Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 12, 2017″Kyrgyzstan are an experienced side. They have quality and they have a great experience. As I heard, a lot of players ply their trade in Europe, which is a great sign of their calibre. I expect a very good fight from them. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a tough challenge for us,” Constantine said at the pre-match press conference.Asked about India’s higher ranking than their opponents, he said, “Ranking comes for a particular reason. But, on the given day, you have to perform on the field. 32 above or below in the FIFA Ranking doesn’t decide the result of a football match. Your hard work counts on the pitch.”Chhetri echoed his coach’s sentiments and said, “We have a huge task tomorrow. We know they are a strong side but we are here to give everything we have to win the tie.”We are churning out results, we are proud to take the results. But, we can’t afford to be complacent at this moment.One moment of he slip-up and everything will be ruined.”Kyrgyzstan coach Alexander Krestinin sounded confident: “We’re here to get a win. We won’t be satisfied with a draw.We are the favourites in the group.”We are ready. We know that India will be a tough nut to crack at their home. Their defence is very strong. But we’re well prepared to beat them.”India are playing smart football recently. Getting good results always gives you confidence. It’s the 21st century and everyone has the information about their opponents. We are well prepared for them and hope there will be a good fight tomorrow.advertisementlast_img read more

Jamaicans Urged Not To Ignore Domestic Violence

first_imgNational Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting has appealed to Jamaicans to be their “brother’s keeper” and to avoid turning a blind eye to domestic violence. He emphasised that Jamaicans must find a way to intervene if they become aware of domestic disputes in their communities, as what often appears to be a small matter can escalate into a dangerous situation. “We have to find a way to intervene and to [refer] these situations to persons who are trained and capable of dealing with it, whether the police, psychologists or pastors,” the Minister urged. Mr. Bunting was speaking on Wednesday, February 27, at a handing over ceremony for 15 new vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), at the Police Commissioner’s office, in Kingston . The Minister extended condolence to the family and the community of the two girls who were killed by their father on February 26 in the farming community of Woodgrove, Trelawny. Reports are that the two sisters, four-year-old Kimocoya, and two-year-old K-alee Mullings, were killed by their father, Kenville, following a dispute with their mother early Tuesday morning. He then committed suicide. “We can’t turn a blind eye to our neighbour, who is in an escalating situation of domestic violence. We can’t mind our own business. Let them call you nosey, but we have to take an interest in what is happening in our communities,” Mr. Bunting said. The Minister further noted that there is need for more programmes like the Violence Prevention and Dispute Resolution Association (VPDRA), which was launched in Manchester last year. Under the pilot project, volunteers are trained as first responders to assist in resolving domestic violence disputes in their communities and to refer these cases to a professional, whether a pastor, police officer or psychologist, if the need arises. “We will never have enough policemen to be in every single community to respond to every situation that is domestic at its core and escalating. But, we can have hundreds and thousands of citizens across the country trained as first responders to intervene in these situations to refer them to a psychologist, a pastor, a social worker, or the community policing unit, so that we don’t have the tragedy that we had (this week),” he said. Mr. Bunting said the Ministry will be looking to extend the VPDRA project across other parishes in an effort to reduce domestic violence.last_img read more