Raghavanka is a renowned Kannada poet. His Harishchandra Kavya is regarded as one of the important classics in Kannada language. Harishchandra Kavya, which is in shatpadi metre, is, a trailblazing work in many ways. This is the first Kannada epic to tell the story entirely in Shatpadi, a six-line stanza, a native meter, instead of using Sanskrit meter (‘vruttas’). Raghavanaka gives us a perfect blend of Sanskrit and medieval Kannada in this work. Vanamala Viswanatha's has translated Raghavanka’s Harishchandra Kavya into English as The Life of Harishchandra.

The theme of Harishchandra Kavya dates back to Vedic times and earliest references to it are found in many ‘puranas’. The story of King Harischandra is too widely known in India. It describes King Harshchandra's struggle to maintain his unflinching commitment to the truth which puts him in a difficult situation. He is forced to decide between his loyalty to his caste (Kula) and the truth (satya). His commitment to truth is tested by the sage Viswamitra as a part of wager with the sage Vashista. Despite extreme hardship—including the loss of his caste rank, wife, son, citizens, and power—King Harishchandra does not give up until the very end. The story has influenced poets and readers through the ages. The story has evolved in a pluralistic manner and it has undergone many transformations in the regional languages of India.

Raghavanka wrote this magnum opus in the thirteenth century, in the midst of the ongoing social, political, and linguistic unrest caused by the Sharan movement led by Basavanna. Through the theme, formal and stylistic modifications, Raghavanka negotiates a unique space for himself in the canon of Kannada literature. The issues he discusses—those involving caste, political power, gender, and hierarchical social order—are still relevant in contemporary India. The poem validates Raghavanka's courageous and principled fight against caste. He adds the rebellious ideas that emerged from the Karnataka Sharana movement into the poem. By bringing up gender in the conversation, Raghavanka presents a strident argument against caste hierarchy.

Harishchandra Kavya also throws light on slave trade in India. It mentions slave market also. In the story, Harishchandra, a king known for his honesty, is faced with a series of challenges that test his commitment to truthfulness and morality. One of these challenges involves selling his wife and son into slavery to pay a debt. Harishchandra ultimately chooses to fulfill his duty and sells his family into slavery. This is significant as it mentions female slavery also. He sells his wife and son. He treats his wife as his commodity. This incident in the poem helps us to study the patriarchal politics and the subjugation of women through slave trade.

This poem offers a unique perspective on the intersections of gender and caste in mediaeval Indian society. The proposed project aims to examine analyze the portrayal of gender roles in the Harshchandra Kavya and understand how they intersect with caste. This research provides a thorough analysis of these themes in the Harshchandra Kavya with the goal of adding to the body of knowledge already available on gender and caste in mediaeval Indian culture which in turn helps to comprehend contemporary issues related to gender and caste in Indian society.