|Born||26 October 1892|
|Died||28 May 1950(aged 57)|
|Alma mater||University of London|
Early life and family
Saravanamuttu was born on 26 October 1892. He was the son of Vetharniam Saravanamuttu, a physician from Colombo in Ceylon. His mother's family were from Vaddukoddai in northern Ceylon. His paternal grandfather Vetharniam is reputed to be the founder of Chunnakam, a small town in northern Ceylon. Saravanamuttu had five brothers: Ratnasothy, Nanasothy, Tharmasothy, Manicasothy and Saptaranajyoti. He was educated at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia where he won many prizes including the Victoria Gold Medal. He was also a member of the school's athletics, cricket and football teams. After school he received a BA degree from the University of London. Saravanamuttu taught at Royal College, Colombo for a brief period. 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.
Saravanamuttu married Sybil Thangam, daughter of Muttusumaru, a crown proctor from Puttalam. They had two sons (Baski and Chandri) and a daughter (Sakuntala). Baski's son, also called Paikiasothy, is the head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.
After returning to Ceylon Saravanamuttu joined the Ceylon Civil Service in 1919 as a cadet, initially working at Colombo Kachcheri. Serving in various locations, he rose up the rank of the civil service. He was Assistant Government Agent for Mullaitivu District (1926) and Hambantota District. He later served as a judicial officer in Badulla, Kalutara, Kegalle and Kurunegala He joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands in 1946 and was appointed commissioner of the Tea Control and Rubber Control departments. He spent millions of public money in these roles and was believed to the highest paid civil servant in the country. 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.
After retirement in 1946 Saravanamuttu entered politics. He contested the 1947 parliamentary election as an independent candidate in Colombo South but failed to get elected. 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. Saravanamuttu contested the ensuing by-election held in Colombo South in November 1948 but again lost.
Saravanamuttu is mostly remembered for his association with the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club which he helped develop. He was president of the club from 1948 to 1951. He helped build the club's new ground, the Colombo Oval which was renamed Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in 1977. The P. Sara Trophy, an inter-club cricket competition, ran from 1949 to 1982. 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).
Saravanamuttu died on 28 May 1950.
- Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. p. 181.
- "He gave of his best, but died a disillusioned man". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 28 May 2000.
- Billimoria, Marc (13 August 2004). "The Saravanamuttu Prize at S. Thomas' College". Daily News (Sri Lanka).
- "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1947" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-04.
- "Summary of By-elections 1947 to 1988" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-09.
- "Presidents". Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club.