Kanakadasa Jayanthi celebrates the birth anniversary of Saint and Poet Kanaka Dasa, one of the greatest social reformers of Karnataka and who is equally noted for his musical compositions. He belongs to the Haridasa literary movement, which composed songs in praise of Lord Krishna and other incarnations of Lord Vishnu. In 2009, Kanakadasa Jayanti is on November 5.
This year it is the 516th birth anniversary of Saint Kanakadasa. From a young age Kanakadasa had to bear the brunt of the notorious caste system and untouchability and he fought against the evil through his poems, which exposed the futility of external rituals and stressed the need for promoting of moral values in life.
Poems of Kanakadasa dealt with every aspect of life and he was highly critical of the caste system. In one such poem, Ramadhanyacharite, he suggests that the difference between the higher and lower castes is similar to the difference between rice and millet. Rice is used by high caste people and for religious rituals. Millet is the staple food of the poor. But Millet is much higher in status in the eyes of God (Lord Ram).