Mahadai Das was born in Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana in 1954. She wrote poetry from her early school days at Bishops High School, Georgetown. She did her first degree at the University of Guyana and received her MA at Columbia University, New York, and then began a doctoral program 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 in c1976 and was part of the Messenger Group promoting 'Coolie' art forms at a time when Indo-Guyanese culture was virtually excluded from national life.