Deshmukh was born on October 11, 1916 in Kadoli, a small town in the Parbhani District of Maharashtra to Shri Amritrao Deshmukh and Shrimati Rajabai Amritrao Deshmukh. Deshmukh's career was full of strife and struggle. He lost his parents at an early age and was brought up by his maternal uncle.
His family had little money to pay for his tuition fees and books, but his keen desire to learn encouraged him to work as a vendor and sell vegetables to raise money to fund his education. He lived in temples and received a higher education at the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani before becoming an RSS activist in the nineteen thirties.
Though born in Maharashtra, the fields of his activities were Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Seeing his devotion, the then RSS Sarsanghchalak Shri Guruji sent him to Gorakhpur (U.P) as “Pracharak”. He rose to be the Saha Prant Pracharak of the whome of Uttar Pradesh (which has now become 8 prant of RSS).
As an R.S.S. volunteer
Deshmukh became inspired by Lokamanya Tilak and his nationalist ideology, as well as showing an acquired interest in social service and activities. His family was in close contact with Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar who was a regular visitor to Deshmukh's family. He could discern potential in Nanaji and encouraged him to attend RSS 'shakhas'.
In 1940, after Hedgewar's death, many youngsters inspired by him joined the R.S.S. in Maharashtra. Deshmukh was among those enthused youths who joined the RSS devoting their whole life in service to the nation. He was sent to Uttar Pradesh as a Pracharak. At Agra, he met Deen Dayal Upadhyaya for the first time. Later, Deshmukh went to Gorakhpur as a pracharak where he took great pains to introduce Sangh ideology in the eastern UP. It was not an easy task at that time as the Sangh had no funds to meet even day-today expenses. He had to stay in a Dharmashala but had to keep on changing Dharmashalas as no one was allowed to stay there