Our Temples don’t belong to us. this is a statement of fact. Hindu Temples across India has been usurped by the very democratic institutions that are duty bound to protect freedom of religion under Article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. In states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, ₹18 of every ₹ 100 that a devotee donate land in the coffers of the government.
Story of government takeover of temples began in 1925 when the British government passed the legislation that allowed them to interfere in the running of Hindus temples in Madras presidency (present day TN, AP, Karnataka, Kerala and Orissa).
The ideologues of the Dravidian movement in addition to the support from British back then held a great sway in the political climate of the era against Aryan culture. And in their endeavour to deprive the Brahmins of the alleged power they held in running temples, these social justice warriors ended up destroying their livelihoods.
There after in 1951, the Shirur Mutt in Udupi, along with 2 other major temples, was notified for take over by the state under the Madras Hindu religious charitable endowments act of 1951. This led to a legal battle in Madras HC and eventually in SC which in 1954 struck down some of the central provisions of the legislation as unconstitutional and illegal. But in 1959, a new legislation was brought in by the state government which effectively rehashed the very same provisions that were struck down 5 years earlier by the apex court of India.
This legislation is in force even today and demain unchallenged until the late Swami Dayanand Saraswati Ji stepped in 2012 to challenge the Hindu religious and charitable endowment HRCE legislations.
In addition to temples of South India, we’ve legislations controlling temples in North India too, example- UP, HP, Bihar, Odisha, etc. Despite this none challenged these legislations except Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Since 2012 the petition files by Swami Ji has been languishing in the apex court and the court hasn’t had the time to look into it. As a result, over 34,000 temples just in the state of TN are in a limbo and devotees are waiting for Justice to be delivered some day.
State ownership of temples encourages corruption, discriminatory as it’s done only against Hindu community, it weakens Hindus collectively, facilitates conversion, temples loose real estate under state control, brings a bad name to Hindus and many more.