Published: 06th December 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Educate, agitate, organise are holy words for Ambedkarites. Decoding its origin on Dr Ambedkar's death anniversary
On the death anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India, we look at the message he had left for all his followers
December 6 is observed annually as the death anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the jurist, economist, and architect of the Indian Constitution. A man who has inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement, a man who refused to die a Hindu, a man who renounced his religion and revolutionised the political movement for Dalits — Babasaheb's legacy can be best honoured by upholding his principles. That brings us to his famous commandments: educate, agitate, organise.
Where did Dr Ambedkar use the slogan?
The slogan was first used by Dr BR Ambedkar in his All India Depressed Classes Conference at Nagpur on July 20, 1942. He used the slogan to emphasise the necessity for a mass effort to end caste-based oppression. "For ours is a battle, not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of human personality which has been suppressed and mutilated by the Hindu Social System and will continue to be suppressed and mutilated if in the political struggle the Hindus win and we lose. My final words of advice to you is educate, agitate and organise, have faith in yourselves and never lose hope. I shall always be with you as I know you will be with me," said Babasaheb Ambedkar as he concluded his speech.
What does the slogan mean?
Educate: Education becomes crucial for growth and development, for it is well-known that knowledge is power. Ambedkar's ideology was to strengthen people and education was the essential first step
Agitate: Agitation here refers to mental agitation — the agitation and resistance through thoughts which is a result of education
Organise: To come together, mobilise and organise for a common goal — a collective resistance
What is the origin of this slogan?
According to a Spring Magazine article by David Bush, the slogan was first used by a socialist group in the United Kingdom in an 1883 pamphlet titled Socialism Made Plain, the Social and Political Manifesto of the Democratic Federation. The pamphlet read, “The aims and objects of the Democratic Federation are before you. Success can only be achieved by organised effort:
Educate. We shall need all our intelligence.
Agitate. We shall need all our enthusiasm.
Organise. We shall need all our force.”
What are the variations?
Educate, agitate, organise (EAO) or educate, organise, agitate (EOA)? Ambedkarites have made the slogan their own as variations of the slogan get used by people these days. The supporters of education, agitate and organise usually belong to the professional, white-collar workers or the Buddhist Ambedkarites. In the opinion of S Karthikeyan's article 'Educate, Organize and Agitate' vs 'Educate, Agitate and Organize', "... the slogan of EAO is considered more spiritual and many times blurs the political edge of Ambedkar's ideology. Sometimes Buddhist Ambedkarites go to the extent to say that if you are NOT Buddhist you are neither Ambedkarite!
The slogan of EOA/OEA, ie Agitate at the end is used by the political Ambedkarite which is taken from his All India Scheduled Caste Federation."