Once in the world of crime, you used to speak of Akhilesh Paul; Football changed life, captained in World Cup, Aamir Khan told a painful story
Abhishek Paul was brought up in a township in Nagpur. He was hooked very quickly with hooliganism, alcohol, drugs. The world of crime took them in its grip. Suddenly the situation became such that his life was in danger. He could not understand anything, then football changed his life.
Abhishek Paul needs no introduction today. He has also been the captain of the India team in the Slum Soccer World Cup played in Brazil. However, at one time Akhilesh did not have a distant relationship with the game. In the world of crime, he used to speak. Football changed his life. The biggest hand in this was Professor Vijay Barse, the founder of Slum Soccer. Akhilesh narrated his painful story in Aamir Khan’s show Satyamev Jayate.
Akhilesh had told Aamir in the show that since childhood, his dream was to grow up to be a brother. Akhilesh said, ‘Kill anyone, throw a sack on anyone. To snatch, to give (to frighten). It was all normal for me. Aamir asked, ‘What is the thing that happened in your life that changed.’ Akhilesh said, ‘Sir, there was a college in the area where I lived. There was a professor Vijay Barse. Our base was opposite the college. Professor used to see us everyday. One day he called us. When we reached, he asked, will you guys play football? On this I asked how much money will I get? He said that 5-5 rupees to everyone. At that time I was 14-15 years old.
Akhilesh said, ‘This cycle went on for a few days. Then they stopped paying, but we continued to play football. After a few days he also stopped giving football, but then we were addicted to playing football. However, we were not aware of it. Meanwhile, my crime rate was increasing very fast. I was once going to take possession of someone’s property. Then the goons of the opposing gang surrounded me.
Akhilesh said, ‘I ran and kept on running. But I was stuck in such a situation that I could not go anywhere. The police was looking for me. The goons were thirsty for my life. I hid in the cemetery. Started eating people’s leftovers. Aamir asked, ‘Akhileshji then what happened next?’
Akhilesh said, ‘Someone told me a lawyer. The lawyer surrendered. I got bail from the court. Once I saw some children playing football. I also stood there. Then there came Vijay Barse sir. I was shocked seeing them. He looked at me and asked what is on now? I told him the situation today is worse than I was before.
Akhilesh told, ‘After this he said, take some time out and practice with the children. Then I played for district level. He liked my performance. I got selected for state level. Then I worked harder. My performance got better. After this the selection was made in the India team.
Amir asked, ‘Which kids take part in this soccer team.’ Akhilesh said, ‘Like me. Means who are poor children, from underprivileged background, slum children.’ Aamir told the audience sitting in the show, ‘Akhileshji, not only got selected for the Indian team, but also became the captain of the Hindustani team. Under his leadership, the Indian team also participated in the Slum Soccer World Cup held in Brazil.
Please tell that Abhishek Paul was brought up in a township in Nagpur. He was hooked very quickly with hooliganism, alcohol, drugs. Soon, the world of crime took him completely in its grip. The situation had reached such a point that dozens of cases were registered against him in the police station in various cases. On the other hand, due to the mutual rivalry of the criminal gang, the miscreants of the opposing gang were also thirsty for their lives.
Life had come to such a point that if he had escaped from the police, the goons would have killed him and if he had escaped from the goons, the police was ready to catch him. Akhilesh could not find any way to save his life. In such a situation, football changed his life. Now he teaches football to needy children. Akhilesh had told in Aamir’s show that at one time people used to call him Bhau. I am not educated, but in spite of this people now call me Sir. It is a matter of great pride for me.
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