Move Over, Gau Maiyya: Why the Cockroach Should Be Our New Rashtra Mata


Move Over, Gau Maiyya: Why the Cockroach Should Be Our New Rashtra Mata

Illustration: Akshita Monga


The next time you throw a cockroach into seizure with your loud, hysterical “bachao bachao”, think again. While you are thinking, pick it up daintily by its wings and look for its udders. Once you’ve located them, click a selfie with the next superstar in the superfood universe. Cockroach milk is set to overthrow bee pollen, spirulina and maca to be the new darling of the clean living, constantly healing health enthusiast who eats shoots and leaves.

Dear Gai, you have cowmpetition. Right now, you may be chewing cud on a pedestal and being worshipped in the cow belt for no fault of your own. Even your potty and pee get more respect than the average woman. The cockroach, unlike you, can never dream of becoming Mommy to devout Hindus afflicted with a permanent minority complex. You have always been the poster girl for the religious – the Hema Malini of mammals. The roach on the other hand has always been given the Lalita Pawar treatment. The poor thing is known to cause pain in varying degrees to two-legged mammals.  

I know you’ve always looked down upon her, but it’s time you started giving her the respect she has always deserved. Let me tell you why. Like time, cockroach has always existed. She was witness to Internet-based communication during the battle of Mahabharata and climbed into Arjuna’s ears to whisper sweet nothings. While you were busy wagging your tail, it was the roach who assisted in Ganesha’s cosmetic surgery. She even distributed sweets when Karna was born through genetic science.

The cockroach survived the nuclear test way back in 2 BC in India, only to be humiliated under the feet of terrified humans in the 21st century. Is it because she is unfair and unlovely? I have never heard her harp on about her past glory. The sweet thing she is, she doesn’t even rue the fact she has no army of maniacs who pretend to be her rakshaks and use their manufactured outrage to kill anyone they please. How can she when she has seen a mob of bloodthirsty goons brutally kill a police officer on duty for the sake of a gone-gai that may or may not have died a natural death!

But the tables have turned and how. Your saffron fans who love beating their chest and others claiming undying love for you, are rethinking their loyalties. Is it time for “hum aapke hai gone” for you, dearest Gai?

Possible, since the lotus’s obsession with you, your reputation has taken such a beating. Even the first-ever minister for cow was shown the middle finger. I know it’s unfair, but every time collective voices wonder what happened to inclusive development, smart cities, infrastructure development that were supposed translate into jobs, you are dragged out of the closet and made the fall gai.

Dear Gai, you have cowmpetition.

Maybe you should feel relieved; I am getting the nagging feeling that you are about to be replaced by the roach. Blame our love for doodh. And her doodh is no ordinary milk. Scientists are claiming that the roach produces a milk-like substance that has protein crystals with three times the energy of buffalo milk. With protein, fat, and sugars they are like a complete food.

It doesn’t stop at this. In China, cockroaches are corralled by the millions to eat up tonnes of kitchen waste a day – the equivalent in weight to seven adult elephants. The dream of a swachh Bharat may finally be realised by the humble roach.

Damn, Gau Maa. Can you live up to this high benchmark set by this multitasking diva?

With another five years in power, your worshippers are desperate for a new mute creature. The roach is way more low maintenance than you. She is so gross, nobody cares if she is dead. The mob will certainly not go on a lynching spree over her inert body lying flat on its back. The party will be saved the embarrassment of defending these vigilantes by keeping mum. She doesn’t elevate the biryani, nor does she make a great steak.

What’s more, she’s fiercely independent and requires no shelters. Like Batman, she even has wings. How cool is that! And man, is she resilient! You can step on her, you can blast her with the force of a thousand nuclear bombs, but she will persevere. I can’t think of a more fitting symbol for a nation that can pick itself up despite decades of terrible governance.

If we, the people of India, can accept a terror-accussed MP, what’s stopping us from falling in love with the cockroach? She’s kind of cute if you look hard and comes with a lifetime warranty.

I am looking at the crystal ball, dear gai and can see a 350-metre statue of the cockroach on the coastline waving at our befuddled neighbours. That’s the least one can do to honour our Rashtra Mata.