IAS Officer Pooja Elangbam’s Book Club -Learning Not Only In Classrooms But Outside Them As Well

Manipur’s IAS officer, Pooja Elangbam launched her vey own ‘Book Club Imphal’ in June 2019. Pooja was a student in Dehradun and Delhi in her early childhood and states how she learnt a lot back then from activities outside the confined walls of a classroom. Early on in her life, she has been into reading, books and otherwise. Thus, in order to rejuvenate this love for reading amongst other kids and young teens she started her Book Club.

The IAS officer, finishing her training and probation returned to her home cadre before her initiation of the book club. Pooja’s educational background comes from Welham Girls’ School in Dehradun, St Stephens’ College and Jawaharlal Nehru University and the reason for her to pursue her education away from Manipur was mainly due to the Manipur’s various conflicts at the time resulting in schools being shut for long periods of time.

“My parents sent me to Dehradun so that I could have proper education without any interruption. Welham Girls’ School had an all-round environment. We had games, dance, music, debates, quizzing. I enjoyed the activities and realized that a lot of learning happens outside the classroom. I felt the activities were crucial for my development. I am now trying to replicate those things in Manipur,” Pooja says.

Pooja has grown up watching her father, an IPS officer, work hard and diligently. And following in his steps, led her to become the Sub-Divisional Officer of Porompat in Imphal East district.

After the launch of her book club, Pooja organized meetings during the weekends with the young teens in the district discussing her own and their personal experiences and about the various activities that they could inculcate. This being solely because a lot of kids in the district end up with the wrong group of people and fall into bad habits such as drugs or drug use when they could be utilizing their time better, picking up on healthier habits for kids their age. To help this issue, Pooja came up with the idea for the book club.

The book club has prospered with over 300 active members. As part of the book club activities, she would organize quizzes on regular intervals, students recommending books to read to each other is also a part of the activities, there were seminars held for kids who wanted to learn how to successfully attempt the civil services exam, civil servants were invited as well to share their knowledge and experience and teach something new to the students there. There was also the launch of her literature magazine. The activities get planned and scheduled over a WhatsApp group.

Pooja received a greatly positive response from the young teens. Many of whom, are civil service aspirants who want to learn from her, and she wants to try to learn from them as well. The students come from all over Manipur and sometimes along with their parents too. Although she operates from Imphal, she tries to visit other districts if she can.

She also adds that there are instances wherein the teens come from abusive families or a similar circumstance, where the father is an alcoholic and, in such situations, some kids might be disturbed or have mental health problems. To deal with which, she has managed to have psychologists to help with counselling for them. While this may not be the case for every family, some parents often come asking about how to help their kids dealing with depression and she recommends the psychologists in her team or other organizations that could help.

The pandemic has indeed affected the club’s regular activities causing them to shift to the online side of carrying out their club activities, the IAS officer continues to help in other ways such as organizing vaccination and community awareness programs. She also is the person in charge of vaccination in the Imphal district and works alongside and with local clubs and other organizations promoting people to get vaccinated.

With all this organizations have also been more than helpful by donating covid-effective masks, sanitizers, hand washes, and oxygen concentrators, amongst other things. Pooja says that these were all provided to the font-line workers, ASHA’s (accredited social health activist) and police force.


  1. One should appreciate poojas work and her initiatives to take younger generation to the main stream of the society.we have to see more number of poojs like this hatsup to pooja madam

  2. It is a wonderful selfless effort by Pooja. Please keep it up and spread this movement. Wish her best luck.


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