Kerala, a pace setter in social advance since the 19th century, has registered another first by extending the principle of reservation to appointment of temple priests, and letting Dalits into the sanctum sanctorum.
Under princely rule, temples in the Travancore and Cochin regions of the state were under the control of maharajas who split the income from them with Brahmin priests and powerful families of dominant castes. All major temples of Travancore, except the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple at Thiruvananthapuram, were brought under the government by a British Resident. He had doubled up as the Dewan so as to boost the kingdom’s revenue. On accession to India, temples in both the princely states were placed under Devaswom Boards with three members, picked by the rulers, the Hindu ministers and the Hindu legislators. Later the right of the rule to nominate a board member was transferred to the Hindu ministers.