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 The Bishops' 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 very ill and was never able to complete the programme.

Mahadai Das
DiedApril 3, 2003(2003-04-03) (aged 48–49)
OccupationAuthor, poet
Notable work
Bones (1988)


She was a dancer, actress, teacher and beauty queen (Ms. Dewali, 1971),[2] 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.[3] Her poetry explicitly relates to ethnic identity, something which contrasts her with other female Indo Caribbean poets.[4] Another theme in her writing is the working conditions in the Caribbean islands.[1] Das's A Leaf in His Ear was included in an article on "10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know".[5] One of Das's last published work of poetry was named "bones" and was published in 1988 by the Peepal Press of London.

Guyana faced big social and political problems dealing with corrupt and unfair laws and government. Das tried to find ways to solve these issues and was a part of the Working People's Alliance whose goal, like Das's, was to find resolutions to the number of problems Guyana faced on a daily basis regarding politics and social issues.


Das died April 3, 2003 in Barbados, from an illness relating to cardiac arrest which was suffered 10 days before her death.[6]


There are a few reoccurring themes in many of Das's writings including the very poor and unfair working conditions that many Caribbean people sadly have to endure for their entire life. In addition to poor working conditions, another reoccurring themes in Das's writings have to do with is ethnic identity and people finding who they really are and coming to terms with who they are despite all the negativity coming from outside Europeans. These themes, although reoccurring in Das's many writings and poems, also tend to be the theme of a majority of Caribbean authors.

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


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Fraser, O. A. (2003, Jun 14). A people's poet: Guyana's mahadai das; 1954-2003.Michigan Citizen ProQuest 368204526
  3. ^ Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ David Dabydeen, Brinsley Samaroo (1987). India in the Caribbean. Hansib. p. 248. ISBN 9781870518000. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
  5. ^ Dambury, Gertry (2018). "10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know". LitHub. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. ^ 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.