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In Service of the Nation: Sucheta Chatterjee from the Class of 2007

In the next part of our series we talk to Ms. Sucheta Chaterjee, an IFS officer from the Class of 2007 on her law school journey, clearing the Civil Services examination and serving the nation in her capacity. Ms. Sucheta describes herself as an idealist, with a sharp sense of justice (which acts as a perpetual driving force for her), is family-oriented, deeply in love with her hometown, Calcutta, enthusiastic about literature and wildlife. Recollecting her high school days she describes herself as a late bloomer. She remarked that those days were not as much fun as movies make it out to be as she was in a girls’ school and experienced a period of uncertainty and experimentation, moving from childhood towards adulthood. She was also blessed with a small group of friends who she met during this period and are close to her even after so many years. During her time in NUJS she recounts that the law school opened up various avenues for her and provided a much bigger canvas to paint upon, with reputed professors from all over the country bringing in their experience and perspectives to the table. She specifically appreciated the guest speakers/lectures which were given by professionals from various walks of life which included the likes of Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz etc. Her fondest memory of college was one where the students used to have long arguments with distinguished professors like Prof. Durgadas Banerjea and Prof. M.V. Shiju who helped them develop the intellectual freedom to challenge professors. She firmly believes that intellectual freedom is the edifice of a good education. Her journey into the legal field, she believes happened because of her inborn idealism and a fierce need to see justice being done as law has and will always remain her first love and because of her passion for logic and reasoning. She was known for her involvement in the debate club, drama club and the constitution club during her five years in law school. Ms. Sucheta's transition into the civil services was mainly backed by her strong interest in foreign relation and interest in world politics. Prof. Durgadas Banerjea was the first person to have told her that she was destined for a career in public service though at that time she did not take him seriously and kept arguing with him about the matter. Many years later, while she was working in SEBI, she thought she should make at least one attempt to join the Foreign Service. Her attempt was successful and got her dream role of being a part of the Indian Foreign Services in her very first attempt. Reflecting on her highest and lowest point at work Sucheta tells us that "there have been many highs, but I suppose that contributing to the evacuation operation in Yemen in 2015 was one of the biggest highs, which made everything feel worthwhile. The feeling of actually making a difference to someone in need of aid is probably the most exhilarating feeling in the world and I’m grateful to the Foreign Service that I was given the opportunity to participate in this mission, albeit in a humble capacity. Members of our team received a written acknowledgement of our contribution by the Minister of External Affairs. That was a major high. As far as the lowest point is concerned, nothing comes immediately to my mind. I suppose most of my lows relate to my own personal failings, such as my chronic impatience." When asked about the advice she would like to give law students today, Sucheta says "Keep up the habit of reading everything and anything. Accumulated knowledge is the key to cracking the UPSC exam. The format of exams has changed in a manner as to favour those with analytical skills, rather than rote-learning. I can confidently say that a career in the civil services is one of the most satisfying and prestigious careers in this country. And as far as the actual exams go, don’t give in to conventional wisdom about what subjects to choose etc. Do what you’re best at doing. All the very best!". At NUJS, we take immense pride and honour in thanking her for her extraordinary role in serving our nation.



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