Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the Mumbai terror attack, is a school dropout who saw jihad as the purpose of his life.
Kasab, the face of the devastating terror siege on Mumbai in which 166 persons were killed, took part in the bloodiest episode of the 60-hour siege that started on the night of November 26, 2008.
He was one of the two heavily armed terrorists who indiscriminately opened fire and threw hand grenades at the city's main railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the initial hours of the carnage, killing 52 people and injuring more than 100.
He was among the ten terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba, who crossed the sea from Karachi to enter Mumbai to wreak havoc on the country's financial capital, and bring the megalopolis to its knees, before being caught alive.
Kasab, a small-time thief from Pakistan specially recruited and trained by the LeT, started believing that Jihad was the purpose of his life and the only way to gain respectability in his society. One Faridkot farmer reportedly said that Kasab used to return to the village and talk of 'freeing Kashmir'.
Kasab has reportedly said he joined the LeT to get weapons training, after deciding to embark on a life of crime, but there have also been claims that his father Mohammed Amir Iman duped him into doing it for money.
Born in Faridkot village in Dipalpur tehsil of Okara district in Pakistan's Punjab province in 1987, Kasab belonged to the 'Kasai' (butcher) caste. His father ran a food stall in the village and his mother was called Noor.
Third of the five children in the family, Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 because his family could not afford further education. He stayed at a shrine and started working as a labourer, earning a meager amount of money in Lahore, until 2005. He later fought with his parents and left home, determined never to return.
Kasab made friends with small-time criminals and slowly gravitated towards armed robbery. During this period, he met local LeT activists at a market in Rawalpindi.
Kasab decided to join the LeT and was eventually taken in as a fresh recruit. After having gone through a minimum standard training, called Daura-e-Aam, in how to operate weapons and grenades, Kasab was further short-listed by the LeT bosses for a more intensive training, known as Daura-e-Khaas.
Kasab, a foot soldier of LeT by then, was often shown films showcasing twisted tales of atrocities in Kashmir, besides speeches of various LeT leaders, including those by LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. He was also promised that his family would be taken care of by the terror outfit.
Kasab seemed to have excelled in all the tasks given to him and was finally selected along with nine others of his 'fidayeen' (suicide) group to get more specialised training in marine commando tactics and GPS and satellite phone, besides other fields.
Even at this time, he did not know about the real target of the mission. The routes and target were given to him only at a later stage.
The terrorists were so heavily indoctrinated that all ten knew that they would die, but did not flinch even for a second as they went about their cold-blooded killings in a ruthless manner.
Kasab had also told investigators that a LeT commander, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, promised that his family would be financially rewarded for his sacrifice.