India`s early years of freedom were tormented by the tragic legacy of division. Refugee resettlement, economic disruption and insufficient resources for virtually all needs, persistent municipal conflicts (more than 10% of the Indian population remained Muslim) and, in the months following independence, the outbreak of an undeclared war with Pakistan in Kashmir were just some of the greatest difficulties faced by the newborn. Lord Mountbatten stayed in New Delhi to serve India`s first new governor general, mostly ceremonial work, while Nehru was the first prime minister to lead the free Indian government and led a congressional cabinet whose second most powerful figure was Patel. Lord Mountbatten (who served from March to August 1947) was sent to replace Wavell as viceroy, with Britain ready to transfer its power over India to a few “responsible” hands by June 1948. Shortly after reaching Delhi, where he met with the leaders of all parties and with his own officials, Mountbatten decided that the situation was too dangerous to wait, if only for this short period. Fearing a forced evacuation of British troops still stationed in India, Mountbatten decided to opt for a partition that would divide Punjab and Bengal, instead of risking further political negotiations as a civil war raged and a new mutiny of Indian troops was imminent. Among India`s leading leaders, Gandhi alone refused to reconcile with partition and asked Mountbatten to offer Jinnah the post of prime minister of a united Indian nation instead of a separate Muslim nation. But Nehru would not agree, nor would his most powerful deputy, Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (1875-1950), being both tired of arguing with Jinnah and persevering in the task of leading an independent government of India. The large and powerful Sikh population of Punjab would have found itself in a particularly difficult and abnormal situation, as Punjab as a whole belonged to Group B and much of the Sikh community had become anti-Muslim since the beginning of the persecution of its gurus by the Mughal emperors in the 17th century. The Sikhs played such an important role in the British-Indian army that many of their leaders hoped that by the end of the war the British would reward them with special help to carve their own country into the rich heart of the rich canal colonies of Punjab, where most Sikhs lived in the kingdom formerly ruled by Ranjit Singh (1780-1839). Since World War I, Sikhs had been as virulent against the British Raj, and although never more than 2% of the Indian population, they had as many nationalist “martyrs” as army officers.