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Nana saheb

Nana Saheb Peshwa II (19 May 1824 – 24 September 1859), born as Dhondu Pant, was an Indian Peshwa of the Maratha empire, aristocrat and fighter, who led the rebellion in Cawnpore (Kanpur) during the 1857 rebellion. As the adopted son of the exiled Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II, Nana Saheb believed that he was entitled to a pension from the East India Company, but the underlying contractual issues are rather murky. The Company's refusal to continue the pension after his father's death, as well as what he perceived as high-handed policies, led him to join the rebellion. He forced the British garrison in Kanpur to surrender, then murdered the survivors, gaining control of Kanpur for a few days. He later disappeared, after his forces were defeated by a British force that recaptured Kanpur. He later fled to Nepal, where he was said to have died in September 1859.

Early life

Nana was born on 19 May 1824 as Nana Govind Dhondu Pant, to Narayan Bhat and Ganga Bai. After the Maratha defeat in the Third Maratha War, the East India Company had exiled Peshwa Baji Rao II to Bithur (near Kanpur), where he maintained a large establishment paid for in part out of a British pension. Nana's father, a well-educated Deccani Brahmin, had travelled with his family from the Western Ghats to become a court official of the former Peshwa at Bithoor. Lacking sons, Baji Rao adopted Nana Saheb and his younger brother in 1827. The mother of both children was a sister of one of the Peshwa's wives. Nana Saheb's childhood associates included Tatya Tope, Azimullah Khan and Manikarnika Tambe. Tatya Tope was the son of Pandurang Rao Tope, an important noble at the court of the Peshwa Baji Rao II. After Baji Rao II was exiled to Bithoor, Pandurang Rao and his family also shifted there. Tatya Tope was the fencing master to Nana Saheb. Azimullah Khan joined the court of Nana Saheb as Secretary, after the death of Baji Rao II in 1851. He later became the dewan in Nana Saheb's court.

Role in the Rebellion of 1857: The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny among Indian soldiers (sepoys) in the British East India Company’s army. Nana Saheb’s involvement in the rebellion stemmed from his grievances against the British and his desire to reclaim the rights and privileges denied to him.

Kanpur Massacre: Nana Saheb’s name became notorious after the infamous Kanpur Massacre of 1857. Following the siege of Kanpur by Indian rebels, British civilians and military personnel were promised safe passage by Nana Saheb if they surrendered. However, upon surrendering, they were attacked and killed, leading to a significant loss of life.

Later Years and Disappearance: After the British reasserted control and suppressed the rebellion, Nana Saheb’s fate remained unclear. He is believed to have escaped to Nepal or other regions to evade capture by the British forces. Despite British efforts to capture him, he was never definitively located.

Legacy and Controversy: Nana Saheb’s role in the rebellion remains a subject of historical debate. Some view him as a nationalist hero who fought against British oppression, while others criticize his involvement in the Kanpur Massacre. His legacy is a complex one, often colored by differing perspectives on the events of the time.

Cultural Impact: Nana Saheb’s story has been depicted in various literary and cinematic works, contributing to his enduring presence in Indian popular culture. He is often remembered as a symbol of resistance against colonial rule.

Nana Saheb’s life and actions continue to be discussed and researched by historians, reflecting the complex nature of his involvement in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and his place in the broader narrative of India’s struggle for independence.

Nanasaheb Peshwa History

The Chhatrapati was reduced to a mere figurehead throughout his reign. At the same time, the Maratha empire began to disintegrate into a confederacy, with individual chiefs gaining influence, such as the Holkars, Scindias, and Bhonsles of Nagpur. The Maratha territory reached its pinnacle during Balaji Rao’s reign. Individual chiefs of the Maratha Empire, on the other hand, led a substantial portion of this growth.

The Peshwa had been reduced to more of a fundraiser than a general by the conclusion of Balaji Baji Rao’s reign. Balaji Baji Rao, unlike his father, was not a brilliant military leader and misjudged the severity of Durrani incursions in northern India. The Third Battle of Panipat saw the Marathas suffer a crushing loss as a result of this. During his term, he instituted certain judicial and revenue changes, but the credit for them goes to his cousin Sadashivrao Bhau and his associate Balshastri Gadgil.

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