Home Education & Science UPSC Interview Transcript 2017 – Mittali Sethi

UPSC Interview Transcript 2017 – Mittali Sethi

by Mitali Sethi
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UPSC Interview Transcript

Name: Mittali Sethi

Date of interview: 17-05-2017, Forenoon session, 2nd candidate to go.

Board: Mr. P.K. Joshi

Duration : 30-35 minutes.

Background: M.D.S., Optional Psychology.

Ch: So, Mittali, what is the meaning of your name?

Me: Sir, Mittali is a combination of meet and aali, both of which mean friend in Hindi.

Ch: You have a bright career. If we take you in as an administrator, we would lose a good doctor,

isn’t it?

Me: Well, Sir, I guess you would also gain a doctor who is an administrator.

Ch: How would you use your knowledge of dentistry in Civil services?

Sir, I would say two things. Firstly, when one studies a stream of science, they not only study

technicality, but also develop a scientific temperament and that is essential to solve problems of

not only the health sector but also the allied sectors. Secondly, I have worked not only in the sector

of dentistry but also health as a broad sector so I have insights that can be useful across systems.

Ch: You have studied in Punjab and Tamil Nadu, what similarities do you find between the two


Me: Sir, economically, I think both the states are doing very well. Socially, I found very few

differences between people even though a few barriers to language and the way of doing things

existed. I had a wonderful experience at both the places.

Ch: You are living in Pondicherry, tell me four things about Pondicherry.

Me: Firstly, there is the French culture and the French architecture. Also, Pondicherry is a beautiful

place and does not have a very large population. Pondicherry also has a distinct cuisine. Also,

there is a distinct Bengali connection with Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville situated there.

Ch: What was the contribution of Aurobindo Ghosh in freedom struggle of India?

Me: Sir, Aurobindo Ghosh ji was interested in the freedom struggle from his early childhood days.

However, he later turned to revolutionary ways for the same. After Prafulla Chaki case however, he

came to Pondicherry and turned to spirituality where he propounded his concept of a superhuman


Ch: Have you read any book written by him?

Me: No Sir, I haven’t. I am not aware of the name.(He asked me the name).

Ch: If we filter blood, what components can we see?

Me: Sir, we see the agglutinins, the antibody and the Rhesus factor. (To this he interrupted and

said do you know about plasma and platelets, and then I mentioned about RBC, WBC, Platelet and


Ch:What percentage of human body does the blood constitute?

I cannot recollect it now, Sir.

M1: So, do you know of a Mithali in the field of cricket?

Me: Yes, Sir. There is a Mithali Dorai Raj. She is the captain of the women cricket team.

M1: How did this name come to Punjab?

I am not aware of it, Sir.

M1: What is an antibiotic?

Sir, an antibiotic is a drug that is used to treat mostly bacterial and protozoal infections.

M1: What is vaccination? How does it function?

Vaccination is the process of introducing weakened or dead bacteria to elicit an immune response.

(I elaborated on primary and secondary immune response).

M1: Is there a vaccine for Tuberculosis?

I fumbled and said DPT initially and then he led me to BCG.

M1: What is the full form of BCG?

Me: Bacillus Calmitte Guerra

M1: What kind of antibiotics are given for oral infections? What are the common bacteria in the oral

cavity? Any Tropozoans?

Me: Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Broad spectrum antibiotics like Amoxycillin and Clavulinic

acid. (He asked why Amoxycillin and not Penicillin. I had a few thoughts on this but finally went with

an I don’t know.) Don’t know about Tropozoans.

M1: What is gingivitis? How is it treated?

Me: Explained the gingivitis thing. And said that we give anti-inflammatory drugs like

serratiopeptidase for inflammation.

M2: What is your first Service preference?

Me: Sir, Indian Administrative Services.

M2: If you are selected in IPS, would you take it?

Me: I would Sir, gladly.

M2: Have you had a direct experience with police? What do you think about the culture of Police as

an Organisation?

Me: Sir, No direct experience. But we do have encounters with traffic police and a lot of Central

police in Puducherry. Honestly, the first thing that comes to my mind about Police is that it is


M2: But don’t you think that there is a blatant violation of human rights by the police( long question

with lots of big english jargon words)

Me: Sir, I don’t think we can generalize this thing. There are many empathetic and compassionate

officers out there and when we talk about human rights issues, we cannot solely take into account

the organisation alone, we have to take into account the circumstances and situations.(To this, he

said that “You are already talking like you are into Police services!)

M2: Culture is not a social choice. How would you as a woman officer handle the cultural

differences in Police? Would you try to change it or become a part of it?

Me: Well, Sir at this point, I would definitely say that I would try to change it and as a woman officer

, I would have my own set of problems. But I believe it is important i story very strong in one’s head

when one is right.

M2: (Interrupted) Have you read any biographies of Gandhi?

Me: I haven’t, Sir.

M2: Have you read the autobiography of Gandhi?

Me: I started it, but could not finish it, Sir.(At this point, he gave an exasperated look).

M2: Eight years of dentistry and now Civil Services, such a waste! Don’t you think so? How would

that be useful in, say, Indian Defence Accounts Services?

Me: Sir, when one educates oneself, one learns both tangible and intangible aspects of it. (To that,

he said that can be done in four years, why would you waste ten? And I said for me the

transformation came only when I finished my Masters).

M3(Lady member): Mittali, on a lighter note, what is the home remedy that dentists prescribe for


Me: Warm saline rinses.

M3: Since you have read Psychology and this is a Personality test, what do you mean by


Me: Ma’am, the traits that stay stable over a period of time are called the Personality traits. And

different traits are tested, depending on the kind of interview.

M3: If a tall, dark, handsome guy walks by, we say he has a good personality. Does it mean so?

Me: No ma’am, we take into account both the external and inherent traits in one to give a complete

picture.(To which she said, then it is the combined thing, right and I said right and thanked her).

M3: Pondicherry has a very famous industry that makes products especially for women. Do you

know about that?

Me: Fumbled, came up with Paper industry . She then referred to her purse and I said leather

industry. Then she asked me the brand name and I could not recollect that too. She said Hidesign.

I knew that but could not get it there.

M3: Do you follow current affairs?

Me: I generally do, yes ma’am.

M3: Why is India stalling an MoU with Russia?

Me: Had read it in morning, explained about Kudunkulam project and NSG.

M3: You were in the anti-Ragging committee, tell us about your experiences.

Me: Told that initially when I went, nobody said anything but slowly, subtler forms came out and I

took it up with higher authorities.

M3: Why do you think ragging started? What was its primary objective, and where did it take a bad


Me: I asked if she is asking about the historical basis, she said no, like what was the primary

objective of ragging. I said to build friendship with juniors and break the ice. But then the case of

Pon Navarasu and Aman Kachroo after which SC judgment came. Also mentioned the hierarchical

system which creates problems.

M3: If you do not clear this exam, would you go back happily to your teaching profession?

Me: I would happy go back ma’am. (Smiling)

M3: So you are happy teaching and you are happy in civil services!

Me: I said I believe there are certain people who perform well, no matter what the job because they

are passionate about what they do.

M3: You are a happy teacher, then what made you come to Civil Services?

Me: Told about Gadchiroli and school at home.

M4: (Rapid Fire round) Most stressful.

Does Puducherry exist?

Me: It definitely does, Sir.

M4: So it exists as what, Pondicherry or Puducherry? Chennai exists as Chennai or Madras?

Me: Pondicherry exists as Puducherry, Madras as Chennai. He asked me how does it exist in the

Constitution, and I fumbled a bit on that.

M4: As a Psychologist, why do you think there is a statism in time?

Me: Sir, probably because people like living in good old days. I myself like the name Madras..


M4: Here on paper, we have your best moments. What was your worst moment? I would only give

you two seconds to answer.

Me: Mentioned a time in college when I was the emcee and the guy who had to play the

Thirukkural CD was not there and everyone got up but there was nothing to play!

M4: So what did you learn from your worst moment?

Me: Always be prepared. Double check everything!

M4: So your hobby is photography. You capture a three dimensional picture into two dimensions.

How do you lend three dimensionality to an image of, say, this room?

Me: Mentioned focal length, adjusting the angulation and then introducing shadow through

adjustment of lighting.

M4: What is the psychological equivalence of this?

Me: Mentioned monocular and binocular cues, retinal disparity he was not satisfied. He asked

about Figure Ground relationship – I explained the concept. He asked don’t you use it in your

photographs. I just smiled.

M4: Which dance have you learnt?

Me: Kathak in childhood, and then in Chennai.

M4: Why is the Middle East called so? From whose perspective is it the Middle East? From ours?

Me: I said it is definitely not from ours, but it is even from a global point of view.

M4: Tell me very quickly three reasons for why what is happening, is happening there?

Me: Very quickly, I mentioned sectarian conflicts, erstwhile struggle between capitalism and

communism, and interference by western countries.

M4: GDP estimates were revised a while ago. Do you know about that?

Me: I mentioned that there was a change in base year from 2004-05 to 2011-12. And that there

was a controversy as GDP was revised upwards. He then asked was this recent or it has been a

while. I said it has been a while.

M4: Well, newspapers say a lot of things. Intelligent minds form an opinion, and we are talking to

an intelligent mind. What is your take on it?

Me: I said that if something is technically sound, it should be allowed to which he asked how do

you know it is technically sound. I fumbled a little before trying to make a point that it is good to

have a closer base year, but he interrupted me again.

M4: Tell me about regulatory bodies about doctors.

Me: I mentioned DCI, MCI. Hey asked more, I said Ministry of AYUSH, he said that’s not a

regulatory body. He said who else can be included. I said I don’t know, and he said nurses and

pharmacists. I said I am not aware of the regulatory bodies for those.

M4: There are celebrities who endorse fairness ads. Why do you think they do so?

Me: I said public acceptance. He said money. Then he asked what is your opinion on it, and I said I

find it completely wrong that we say that one can change their lives based on change of skin


M4: Some dentists talk about tooth extraction at the earliest, some never extract it. Tell me your

frank opinion on this.

Me: I said, since I work with children, I do advocate removal of deciduous teeth. He asked what is

the long term impact of tooth loss to which I explained the loss of alveolar bone along with the

tooth and thus the long term impact.

M4: So then, why do we actually extract teeth?

Me: Sir, we don’t until the tooth is beyond repair.

M4: When people go to Civil services, they go smiling, but once they are in it, the last thing we see

on their faces is a smile. Why is that? What would you do?

Me: Sir, the same thing i said for doctors too. I haven’t lost my smile until now, and hopefully, I wont

lose it in administration too.

Ch: Thank you.

I said thank you to everyone and exited.

Source – https://inklingsofaspecialcommonwoman.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/upsc-interview-transcript-2017-mittali-sethi/

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