Book Club Imphal founder Pooja Elangbam is a 2017-batch IAS officer from Manipur

Imphal: At a time when reading culture is losing its popularity beyond the classrooms and books; when internet is evolving and taking over the traditional activities, Book Club Imphal, a new venture initiated by a handful of like-minded young folks in Manipur, is trying to re-shape and re-engage the old ways of learning among the youths.

The Book Club Imphal, a first-of-its-kind in the state, is the brainchild of 25-year-old Pooja Elangbam, an assistant commissioner of Imphal West. The idea of a club, as informed by Elangbam, first surfaced after she came back home from training at Mussoorie in Uttarakand.

Pooja Elangbam and the core team members showcasing the newly launched magazine, ‘Heeden da Chumthang’

Later, Elangbam put through her ideas on social media and received positive responses which were beyond her expectations from people with various walks of life. Since then, there has been no looking back for this young lady bureaucrat and has created a space for Book Club Imphal in the world of art and literature along with nine others in June this year.

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“Initially, it was just a place where we could interact with each other, talk about books, movies and what all we can do for our society. But later on, I started thinking of different medium with which we could bring this learning. So, we organised an event called ‘Loushing’, an inter-college quiz competition for under-graduate and post-graduate,” said Elangbam.

Recently, Book Club Imphal also launched the first edition of its magazine titled ‘Heeden da Chumthang’, literally meaning a ‘harbour with a rainbow’

According to a club initiator, Book Club Imphal is an organisation of the youth, by the youth and for the youth for an interactive platform beyond books and reading in classroom. The club not only aims to introduce young people to art, literature, beauty, collaboration and interaction but, most importantly, to show them that learning is not drudgery.

With over 150 members, mostly school and college goers, in a short period of its launch, Elangbam and the core team are confident to build an army of youths who knows how to appreciate and recreate lives through art, literature and series of interactive sessions in days to come.

“While interacting with the youngsters, I see the positive attitude, their passion and I feel like I am learning so much from them as well. It is not just me who is giving back to my society but also I am learning so much in just helping people around,” said Elangbam.

Recently, the club has also launched their first edition of magazine titled Heeden da Chumthang, literally meaning a ‘harbour with a rainbow’. It symbolises the diverse thoughts and creativity that are manifested when people collaborate and also it is an attempt to capture the joys and frailties of life, it said.

The team at Book Club Imphal is now trying to build a revolution of learning, analytical thinking and critical thinking through quizzes, short story writing competitions, and poems

“I got randomly introduced to this club. And I got so inspired when I first met Pooja (ji) and she explained about the club. It is not only academic but the club is also about personality development, self-grooming and introducing to art, literature and music,” said a beaming Reena Thangjam, a student of DM College of Arts, who also holds the position of secretary at the club.

The team is now trying to build a revolution of learning, analytical thinking and critical thinking through quizzes, short story writing competitions, and poems. Moreover, the club, as informed, is also planning to organise a Model United Nations in a few months’ time.

“These are different ways where young people could communicate with each other and interact in public platforms, and learn basic human values of kindness and love,” Elangbam concluded.

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