"Strikes have today become a universal plague," Gandhiji replied.
"There are strikes everywhere, America and England not excepted. But
in India they have a special significance. We are living under an
unnatural condition. As soon as the lid is removed and there is a
crevice letting in the fresh air of freedom, there will be an
increasing number of strikes. The fundamental reason for this
spreading strike fever is that life here as elsewhere, is today
uprooted from its basis, the basis of religion, and what an English
writer has called 'cash nexus' has taken its place. And that is a
precarious bond. But even when the religious basis is there, there
will be strikes, because it is scarcely conceivable that religion
will have become for all the basis of life. So, there will be
attempts at exploitation on the one hand, and strikes on the other.
But these strikes will then be of a purely non-violent character.
Such strikes never do harm to anyone. It was such a strike perhaps
that brought General Smuts to his knees. 'If you had hurt an
Englishman,' said Jan. Smuts, 'I would have shot you, even deported
your people. As it is, I have put you in prison and tried to subdue
you and your people in every way. But how long can I go on like this
when you do not retaliate?' And so he had to come to terms with a
mere coolie on behalf of coolies as all Indians were
then called in South Africa."