I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara by Lalbihari Sharma
Award-winning Indo-Caribbean poet Rajiv Mohabir (born 1981) brings his own poetic swagger and family history to a groundbreaking translation of Lalbihari Sharma's Holi Songs of Demerara, originally published in India in 1916―the only known literary work written by an indentured servant in the Anglophone Caribbean. Sharma, originally from Chapra in the current Indian state of Bihar, was bound to the Golden Fleece Plantation in British Guyana. His poems about the hardships of "coolie" life on the island were originally published in Awadhi-Bhojpuri as a pamphlet of spiritual songs in the style of 16th-century devotional poetry.
I Even Regret Night brings Mohabir's new translation of Sharma's text together with a contextualizing introduction by Gaiutra Bahadur, who found the manuscript in the British Library and wrote about it in her book Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, and an afterward by Mohabir exploring the role of poetry in resisting the erasure of this often-overlooked community.