Mahadai Das

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Mahadai Das was a Guyanese poet. She was born in Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana, in 1954. She wrote poetry from her early school days at Bishop's High School, Georgetown. She did her first degree at the University of Guyana and received her B.A. in philosophy at Columbia University, New York,[1] and then began a doctoral programme in Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Das became ill and never completed the programme.

She was a dancer, actress, teacher and beauty queen, served as a volunteer member of the Guyana National Service around 1976 and was part of the Messenger Group promoting ‘Coolie’ art forms at a time when Indo-Guyanese culture was virtually excluded from national life. She was one of the first Indo-Caribbean women to be published.[2] She has written poetry explicitly relating to ethnic identity, something which contrasts her with other female Indo-Caribbean poets.[3] Another theme in her writing is the working conditions in the Caribbean islands.[1]

She died in 2003, from illness relating to cardiac arrest suffered 10 days before her death.[4]


  • Bones' (Peepal Tree Press Ltd., 1988)
  • A Leaf in His Ear: Selected Poems (Peepal Tree Press Ltd., 2010)

Several of her poems were included in The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry (Heinemann, 1992).


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ David Dabydeen, Brinsley Samaroo (1987). India in the Caribbean. Hansib. p. 248. ISBN 9781870518000. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  4. ^ Mehta, Brinda J. (2004). Diasporic (dis)locations: Indo-Caribbean women writers negotiate the kala pani. University of the West Indies Press. p. 20. ISBN 9789766401573. Retrieved 2010-06-06.