Saturday, March 04, 2006


Muhammad Lebbe Marikar Zainudeen, MMC, was the son of Idroos Lebbe Muhammad Lebbe Marikar, a leading merchant in the Pettah. He resided in a house in Grandpass and received his English education at Wesley College, Colombo. He, together with his brother Ismail, joined their father’s business of Commission Agency and General Merchants. They had their showrooms at Hameediah Buildings, Main Street, Pettah, in the year 1880.

In 1883, Zainudeen, under the leadership of Sahib Doray Ismail Lebbe Marikar Alim, later known as Haji Ismail Effendi, together with a few other Muslims, visited several Muslim countries. It is said that they carried a petition to the Khedive (Viceroy) of Egypt from the Egyptian exiles in Ceylon, namely Arabi Pasha and his colleagues.

Zainudeen and group travelled extensively in Egypt and proceeded to Constantinople (Istanbul) before arriving in Makkah to perform the piligrimage of Hajj. On returning to Ceylon, Zainudeen exported large consignments of Ceylon produce, viz hides, cocoa, corn, fibre, oil, coconuts etc. to those frims with whom he had made arrangements with during his stay in Africa and Europe.
Zainudeen was elected a member of the Pettah Ward in the Colombo Municipal Council in 1900.

The following account of the election appeared in the "Crescent" of Liverpool dated October 10, 1900:-

"The election of a councillor for the Pettah Ward took place on Saturday, the 24th August last, at the Town Hall. At first there were two candidates in the field - Mr. Zainudeen and Mr. John Clovis de Silva, but the latter withdrew his candidature a few days previous. The election took place at 8 a.m. the appointed hour. Mr. Herbert White, acting Mayor and Chairman, presided, and there were besides, a few Muslim and Sinhalese householders of the ward present.

The proceedings commenced by Mr. C.B. Brodie, the well-known Fort merchant, formally proposing the name of Mr. M.L.M. Zainudeen as a fit and proper person for election as member to the Pettah Ward. Mr. I.L.M. Ismail Marikar seconded, whereupon Mr. C.P. Dias, MMC handed in 850 proxies in favour of the nominee. The Chairman examined the lists, and declared Mr. Zainudeen duly elected councillor for the Pettah Ward. Mr. Zainudeen briefly returned thanks, and in turn proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, the latter acknowledging the compliment briefly. Mr. Zainudeen was "At Home" to his friends and well-wishers during the whole of Saturday, when a large number of people called and congratulated him on his election. Among them were members of the Council".

The Muslims of Ceylon, along with the Muslims of the World, celebrated Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan’s Silver Jubilee with grand illuminations and decorations of the Mosques and houses on the day previous to the election of Zainudeen to the Council.
The Muhammadan community in the vicinity of Zainudeen’s residence repeated the decorations and illuminations on his election.

Zainudeen was subsequently re-elected for the Pettah Ward and served as such till 1907. An account of his life appears in the "Twentieth Century" impressions of Ceylon edited by Arnold Wright and published in 1907 by Lloyds Great Britain Publishing Company Limited.

He was the paternal grandfather of Mrs. M.M.I. Kariappar.


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