The speech started: "Today, I come to you with a heavy heart. You know everything and understand as well. We tried our best. But the streets of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur have been dyed red with the blood of our brethren. People of Bangladesh today want freedom. They want to survive. They want to have their rights. What wrong did we do?". The extempore speech lasted about 19 minutes, with more than 1100 words.During the speech, Sheikh Mujib proclaimed, "Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence." (Bengali: "এবারের সংগ্রাম আমাদের মুক্তির সংগ্রাম, এবারের সংগ্রাম স্বাধীনতার সংগ্রাম"). He also announced the civil disobedience movement in the province, calling for "every house to turn into afortress". The war eventually began 18 days later, when the Pakistan Army launchedOperation Searchlight against Bengali civilians, intelligentsia, students, politicians and armed personnel. In this speech, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib mentioned a 4-point condition before joining the National Assembly meeting on 25 March; these were:
1. The immediate lifting of martial law, 2. Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks, 3. Immediate transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people, 4. Proper inquiry into the loss of life.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib also articulated several directives to the nation as part of civil disobedience movement, such as:
people would not pay taxes and the Government servants would take orders only from himThe secretariat, government and semi-government offices, High court and other courts throughout East Bangla would observe strikes. Necessary exemptions would be announced from time to timeOnly local and inter-district telephone communication would functionRailway and ports might function, but railway and port workers would not cooperate if railway or ports were used for mobilizing of forces for the purpose of repression against the people of East Bangla
This historic address was a de facto declaration of Bangladesh’s independence.