In the Naga Battle of Gokul in 1757, Ahmad Shah Abdali led his forces to loot and plunder North India, reaching Delhi. His commanders, Najib Khan and Jahan Khan, were sent with a sizable army of 20,000 soldiers to attack various cities including Mathura, Vrindavan, Ballabgarh, Agra, and Gokul. The actions of these invaders were described as brutal and savage, with indiscriminate killings, rapes, enslavement of women and children, destruction of property, and looting. The aftermath left the area filled with the grim scene of dead bodies, blood, and an unpleasant odor.
Upon hearing about the attack, the Naga Sannyasis (ascetic warriors) gathered weapons and ammunition from different locations and assembled in Gokul. When Jahan Khan launched the assault on Gokul, he faced a formidable defense from the Nagas, armed with cannons, guns, swords, spears, tridents, and tongs. Around five thousand Naga sadhus turned into an organized army and engaged the invading force, outnumbering them.
Initially, Jahan Khan underestimated the Naga sadhus, but witnessing his soldiers being defeated and dismembered, he realized the determination and courage of these warriors who fought to protect their land and faith, embodying the spirit of the great Mahakal.
The Naga Sadhus displayed remarkable fearlessness in this intense battle, preventing the enemy’s army from advancing even a few steps. The invaders were so terrified of the ash-smeared Naga warriors that they turned and fled. Despite reinforcements, the enemy forces continued to suffer heavy casualties. Eventually, they surrendered, turned their backs, and ran away.
Around two thousand Naga Sadhus attained Veergati (martyrdom) in this battle. The ferocity of the Naga warriors instilled such terror that if jihadi invaders learned about the Naga Sadhus’ participation in a war, they would often choose to avoid fighting and abandon the conflict altogether.
It is unfortunate that today we remember and discuss the actions of barbaric invaders like Aurangzeb, Taimur, and Akbar, while the brave Hindu warrior saints who sacrificed their lives for the nation often go unrecognized.