I. X. Pereira

Dewan Bahadur Chevalier Ignatius Xavier Pereira KCSS (26 April 1888 – 21 July 1951) was a colonial-era Ceylonese businessman and politician.[1]

I. X. Pereira
IX Pereira 1934.jpg
I. X. Pereira in 1934
Dewan Bahadur
Member of the State Council of Ceylon
In office
Member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon
In office
Personal details
Ignatius Xavier Pereira

(1888-04-26)26 April 1888
Tuticorin, India
Died24 July 1951(1951-07-24) (aged 63)
Colombo, Ceylon
Spouse(s)Margaret Pereira
Parent(s)F. X. Pereira

Ignatius Xavier Pereira was born on 21 July 1888 in Tuticorin, India, the eldest son of Francis Xavier Pereira.[2] His father moved the family to Colombo in 1889 establishing the company, F. X. Pereira and Sons, which specialised in drapery and tailoring.[2] Pereira was educated at St. Benedict's College, Kotahena.[3] After his father died in March 1906 Pereira took over the running of the family business at the age of eighteen. He expanded the operations of the company to include shipping, insurance, manufacturing and general stores.

In 1924 Pereira was elected to the Legislative Council of Ceylon, winning the seat reserved for the Indian community by a substantial majority, defeating Mohamed Sultan. In 1930 he travelled to London and met with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sidney Webb, regarding minority representation in the proposed Donoughmore Constitution.[3][4] He was subsequently appointed as the nominated member representing the Tamil Indian community on the 1st State Council of Ceylon on 26 June 1931.[5][3][6] In 1934 the Viceroy of India, Marquess of Willingdon, conferred him with the title Dewan Bahadur, in recognition of his services to the Tamil community.[2]

Pereira was re-nominated to the 2nd State Council in 1936 and remained a member until the State Council was dissolved in 1947.[5] He served on the Executive Committee for Labour, Industry and Commerce.[7] During World War II Pereira was one of the few Ceylonese appointed to the War Council by the Commander-in-Chief Sir Geoffrey Layton in 1943. He also served as the Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce when Sir Claude Corea left to take up a position as the Ceylonese Representative to the United Kingdom in 1946. In the same year Pope Pius XII invested him into the Papal Knighthood and made him the Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Sylvester, for his philanthropy and services to the church.

Pereira was also a member of the Colombo Port Commission, the Board of Indian Immigrant Labour, the President of the Indian Mercantile Chamber, the Indian Club and the Vice President of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress.

In 1948 he declined the offer by Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake of a position on the Senate of Ceylon due to his deteriorating health. He died on 21 July 1951, at the age of sixty-three.[3]

A stamp was issued in his honour coinciding with his 100th birthday anniversary in 1988[8] and subsequently a road was named after him in Pettah by the Colombo Municipal Council.


  1. ^ "Hon. Pereira, Diwan Bahadur Ignatius Xavier, M.P." Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Siriwardene, P. P. G. L. (11 April 2002). "Augustine Pereira – 50 years in business". The Daily News. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Wimalaratne, K. D. G., ed. (1994). Personalities, Sri Lanka: A Biographical Study (15th–20th Century), 1490–1990 A.D., A-Z. Ceylon Business Appliances Limited. p. 106. ISBN 9789559287001.
  4. ^ Desai, H. M. (1943). Citizen or outcast?: Indo-Ceylon problems. p. 62.
  5. ^ a b Members of the Legislatures of Sri Lanka, 1931–83: Record of Service. Library of Parliament. 1983. p. 143.
  6. ^ Ceylon Blue Book. Government Printer, South Africa. 1931. p. 2.
  7. ^ Ferguson's Ceylon Directory. Colombo: The Ceylon Observer Press. 1944. p. 25.
  8. ^ "100th Anniversary of the Birth of Chevalier I. X. Pereira issue of Sri Lanka". Stamp Data. Retrieved 9 April 2019.