The meaning of a philosophical song written by Gopaldas Saxena ‘Neeraj’ like Karvan Guzar Gaya from Nai Umar Ki Nayi Fasal (1966) can’t be translated in its true spirit that easily. It took me a while to get to a point where I feel somewhat satisfied by the translation so I am posting it now. Thanks for sending in the request Maryam T and so sorry for the delay in posting!

Neeraj was known to have distaste for commercial demands for meaningless lyrics in Bollywood films and while he wrote infrequently for Hindi cinema, he has some very successful songs to his credit. He was a prominent poet and academic and his style was considered very profound yet accessible for the masses. He believed that poet’s job was to reflect the truth of his environment, however unpleasant it may seem as human words are an extension of their values. This song displays his mastery over literary expression as he delivers stanza after stanza filled with waves of hopelessness and angst of youth disillusioned by the world. The thought-provoking film, based on student politics was shot in Aligarh Muslim University campus and can be watched here.

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Song Credits
Lyrics: Gopaldas Saxena ‘Neeraj’
Singers: Mohammad Rafi
Music: Roshan

Movie Credits
Directed by: R. Chandra
Starring:  Rajeev, Tanuja, Ulhas, Shobhna Samarth, Leela Chitnis
Produced by: Vishwabharathi Films
Release: 1966

Original Lyrics – Karvan Guzar Gaya

Swapn jhare phool se
meet chubhe shool se
mit gaye singaar sabhi
baagh ke babool se
aur ham khade khade bahaar dekhte rahe
Karvan guzar gaya gubaar dekhte rahe

Zindagi khuli na thi ki haay dhoop dhal gayi
paanv jab talaq uthe ke zindagi fisal gayi
paat paat jhad gaye ke shaakh-shaakh jal gayi
chaah to nikal saki na tar umar nikal gayi
tar umar nikal gayi
geet ashk ban gaye, swapn ho dafan gaye
saath ke sabhi diye, dhuaan pahan-pahan gaye
aur ham jhuke-jhuke, mod par ruke-ruke
umr ke chadhaav kaa utaar dekhte rahe

Kyaa shabaab thaa ke phool phool pyaar kar uthaa
kyaa kamaal thaa ke dekh aainaa sihar uthaa
is taraf zameen aur aasmaan udhar uthaa
thaam kar jigar uthaa ke jo milaa nazar uthaa
ke jo milaa nazar uthaa
ek din magar yahan aisi kuch hawa chali
lut gayi kali kali ke ghut gayi gali gali
aur ham lute-lute, waqt se pite-pite
saaz ki sharaab kaa khumaar dekhte rahe
Karvan guzar gaya gubaar dekhte rahe

Haath the mile ke zulf chaand ki sanwaar doon
honth the khule ke har bahaar ko pukaar doon
dard thaa diyaa gayaa ke har dukhi ko pyaar doon
aur saans yoon ke swarg, bhoomi par utaar doon
bhoomi par utaar doon
ho sakaa na kuchh magar, shaam ban gayi sahar
wo uthi lahar ke dhah gaye kile bikhar bikhar
aur ham dare dare, neer nain mein bhare
odh kar kafan pade mazaar dekhte rahe

Maang bhar chali ke ek jab nayi nayi kiran
dhol ke dhunak uthi thumak uthe charan charan
shor mach gayaa ke lo chali dulhan chali dulhan
gaanv sab umad padaa, bahak uthe nayan nayan
bahak uthe nayan nayan
par tabhi zahar bhari gaaz ek wah giri
punch gaya sindoor taar taar huyi chunri
aur ham azaan se door ke makaan se
paalki liye huye kahaar dekhte rahe
Karvan guzar gaya gubaar dekhte rahe

Translation of Karvan Guzar Gaya by bollywoodtarjuma

Dreams fell like wilted flowers,
friends pricked like thorns,
like the acacia of the garden,
all adornments disappeared..
and I kept looking for the spring,
the caravan departed and yet I stood,
soaked in the dust billowing ..

Life wasn’t even awake when the sun went down,
it slipped away before feet got off the ground.
Dried leaves fell and branches burnt out,
desires stayed on while years thrashed about.
Melodies mourned and dreams lay buried,
clothed in smoke, the lamps sat wearied.
But I stayed on, right on that sprawl,
where time raced past me,
leaving me to see my falling,
the caravan departed and yet I stood,
soaked in the dust billowing..

Such was the youth in its prime,
that every bloom fell for it
and trembling reflections lost their mind.
Earth on my side and the sky on the other,
everyone who saw it, felt their heart flutter.
But one day wind turned around,
crushing the rosebuds, choking the ground.
Robbed and beaten, I was still watching,
in the drunken haziness of musical time.
The caravan departed and yet I stood,
soaked in the dust billowing..

My fingers brushed the tresses of moonlight,
lips could call the spring quickly into sight,
I got pain so I could love those who hurt,
my breaths granted to bring heaven on earth.
But dawn became dusk and nothing materialized,
waves of time wrecked sand-fort of my pride.
From beneath the shroud of death I saw,
the remnants of my own shrine,
while I stayed back, afraid and drowning,
the caravan departed and yet I stood,
soaked in the dust billowing..

A new ray walked with a vermillioned parting,
and feet danced to the rhythmic drum-beating,
the word spread about the new bride,
village flooded out with hope-filled eyes.
Just then lightning struck with poisoned-hail,
botching the colours and shredding the veil.
Like the call of morning-prayer that dawn,
I watched from a house far away,
at the bridal palanquin –bearers leaving,
the caravan departed and yet I stood,
soaked in the dust billowing..