Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

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Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.jpg
Native name
பாக்கியசோதி சரவணமுத்து
Born(1892-10-26)26 October 1892
Died28 May 1950(1950-05-28) (aged 57)
Alma materUniversity of London
OccupationCivil servant

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu (Tamil: பாக்கியசோதி சரவணமுத்து; 26 October 1892 – 28 May 1950; also known as P. Sara) was a Ceylonese civil servant and sports administrator.

Early life and family[edit]

Saravanamuttu was born on 26 October 1892.[1] He was the son of Vetharniam Saravanamuttu, a physician from Colombo in Ceylon.[1] His mother's family were from Vaddukoddai in northern Ceylon.[2] His paternal grandfather Vetharniam is reputed to be the founder of Chunnakam, a small town in northern Ceylon.[3] Saravanamuttu had five brothers: Ratnasothy, Nanasothy, Tharmasothy, Manicasothy and Saptaranajyoti.[1] He was educated at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia where he won many prizes including the Victoria Gold Medal.[1][2] He was also a member of the school's athletics, cricket and football teams.[2] After school he received a BA degree from the University of London.[1][2] Saravanamuttu taught at Royal College, Colombo for a brief period.[2] He then joined Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1915 in preparation for entering the Indian Civil Service but family circumstances forced him to leave before finishing his course.[2][3]

Saravanamuttu married Sybil Thangam, daughter of Muttusumaru, a crown proctor from Puttalam.[1] They had two sons (Baski and Chandri) and a daughter (Sakuntala).[1] Baski's son, also called Paikiasothy, is the head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.[2]


After returning to Ceylon Saravanamuttu joined the Ceylon Civil Service in 1919 as a cadet, initially working at Colombo Kachcheri.[1][2][3] Serving in various locations, he rose up the rank of the civil service.[1] He was Assistant Government Agent for Mullaitivu District (1926) and Hambantota District.[1][2] He later served as a judicial officer in Badulla, Kalutara, Kegalle and Kurunegala[1][2] He joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands in 1946 and was appointed commissioner of the Tea Control and Rubber Control departments.[1][2][3] He spent millions of public money in these roles and was believed to the highest paid civil servant in the country.[2] He was offered the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George honour in the 1946 New Year Honours list for his services during the war but he declined.[2][3]

After retirement in 1946 Saravanamuttu entered politics.[2] He contested the 1947 parliamentary election as an independent candidate in Colombo South but failed to get elected.[4] The winner of the election, R. A. de Mel, subsequently lost his seat after being found guilty of corrupt practices by aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the offences of impersonation.[2] Saravanamuttu contested the ensuing by-election held in Colombo South in November 1948 but again lost.[5]

Saravanamuttu is mostly remembered for his association with the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club which he helped develop.[1] He was president of the club from 1948 to 1951.[6] He helped build the club's new ground, the Colombo Oval which was renamed Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in 1977.[1][2][3] The P. Sara Trophy, an inter-club cricket competition, ran from 1949 to 1982.[1] Saravanamuttu was head of the Ceylon Cricket Association (1937–50) and the first president of the Board of Control for Cricket in Ceylon (1949–50).[2][3]

Saravanamuttu died on 28 May 1950.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. p. 181.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "He gave of his best, but died a disillusioned man". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 28 May 2000.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Billimoria, Marc (13 August 2004). "The Saravanamuttu Prize at S. Thomas' College". Daily News (Sri Lanka).
  4. ^ "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1947" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-04.
  5. ^ "Summary of By-elections 1947 to 1988" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-09.
  6. ^ "Presidents". Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club.