He was an adopted child by Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II. He was born on May 19, 1824 as Nana Govind Dhondu Pant to Narayan Bhatt and Ganga Bai. But following his defeat in the Third Maratha War the East India Company had exiled Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa of the Maratha Confederation, to Bithoor near Cawnpore (now Kanpur), where he maintained a large establishment paid for in part out of a British pension. In childhood he had friends named Tantya Tope, Azimullah Khan and Rani Lakshmibai.
The freedom struggle of 1857
He played a very important role in the Indian freedom struggle. A Maratha, one of the leaders of the First War of Independence, Nana Saheb was born to Narayan Bhatt and Ganga Bai. In 1827 his parents went to the court of the last Peshwa Baji Rao, who adopted Nana Saheb, thus making him heir-presumptive.
According to Doctrine of Lapse treaty, after the death of Baji Rao, Nana Sahib was denied to take the throne as he was not the direct heir to Baji Rao. Nana Sahib stood against this statement of British Government and launched attack on their entrenchment at Cawnpore (now Kanpur). He was defeated by General Henry Havelock and in December 1857 by Sir Colin Campbell. He appointed a nephew, Rao Sahib, to give orders to Tantia.
At the End
It is believed that after his defeat in the revolt of Kanpur, Nana Sahib took shelter in Nepal to safeguard himself and his family. He was spotted by people in the Nepal hills, where he is thought to have died.