NARCONDAM, n.p. The name of a strange weird-looking volcanic cone, which rises, covered with forest, to a height of some 2,330 feet straight out of the deep sea, to the eastward of the Andamans. One of the present writers has observed (Marco Polo, Bk. III. ch. 13, note) that in the name of Narkandam one cannot but recognise Narak, ‘Hell’; perhaps Naraka-kundam, ‘a pit of hell’; adding: “Can it be that in old times, but still contemporary with Hindu navigation, this volcano was active, and that some Brahmin St. Brandon recognised in it the mouth of Hell, congenial to the Rakshasas of the adjacent group” of the Andamans ? We have recently received an interesting letter from Mr. F. R. Mallet of the Geological Survey of India, who has lately been on a survey of Narcondam and Barren Island. Mr. Mallet states that Narcondam is “without any crater, and has certainly been extinct for many thousand years. Barren Island, on the other hand, forms a complete amphitheatre, with high precipitous encircling walls, and the volcano has been in violent eruption within the last century. The term ‘pit of hell,’ therefore, while quite inapplicable to Narcondam, applies most aptly to Barren Island.” Mr. Mallet suggests that there may have been some confusion between the two islands, and that the name Narcondam may have been really applicable to Barren Island. [See the account of both islands in Ball, Jungle Life, 397 seqq.] The name Barren Island is quite modern. We are told in Purdy’s Or. Navigator (350) that Barren Island was called by the Portuguese Ilha alta, a name which again would be much more apt for Narcondam, Barren Island being only some 800 feet high. Mr. Mallet mentions that in one of the charts of the E.I. Pilot or Oriental Navigator (1781) he finds “Narcondam according to the Portuguese” in 13° 45’ N. lat. and 110° 35’ E. long. (from Ferro) and “Narcondam or High Island, according to the French,” in 12° 50’ N. lat. and 110° 55’ E. long. This is valuable as showing both that there may have been some confusion between the islands, and that Ilha alta or High Island has been connected with the name of Narcondam. The real positions by our charts are of Narcondam, N. lat. 13° 24’, E. long. 94° 12’. Barren Island, N. lat. 12° 16’, E. long. 93° 54’.

The difference of lat. (52 miles) agrees well with that between the Portuguese and French Narcondam, but the difference in long., though approximate in amount (18 or 20 miles), is in one case plus and in the other minus; so that the discrepancies may be due merely to error in the French reckoning. In a chart in the E.I. Pilot (1778) “Monday or Barren Island, called also High Island” and “Ayconda or Narcondam,” are marked approximately in the positions of the present Barren Island and Narcondam. Still, we believe that Mr. Mallet’s suggestion is likely to be well founded. The form Ayconda is nearer that found in the following:

1598.—“…as you put off from the Ilandes of Andeman towards the Coast…there lyeth onely in the middle way an Ilande which the inhabitantes call Viacondam, which is a small Iland having faire ground round about it, but very little fresh water.”—Linschoten, p. 328.

The discrepancy in the position of the islands is noticed in D’Anville: 1753.—“Je n’oublierai pas Narcondam, et d’autant moins que ce que j’en trouve dans les Portugais ne repond point à la position que nos cartes lui donnent. Le routier de Gaspar Pereira de los Reys indique l’île Narcodão ou Narcondam à 6 lieues des îles Cocos, 12 de la tête de l’Andaman; et le rhumb de vent à l’égard de ce point il le determine, leste quarta da nordeste, meya quarta mais para les nordestes, c’est à dire à peu-près 17 degrés de l’est au nord. Selon les cartes Françoises, Narcondam s’écarte environ 25 lieues marines de la tête d’Andaman; et au lieu de prendre plus du nord, cette ïle baisse vers le sud d’une fraction de degré plus ou moins considérable selon differéntes cartes.”—D’Anville, Eclairc., 141–142.
I may add that I find in a French map of 1701 (Carte Marine depuis Suratte jusqu’au Detroit de Malaca, par le Père P. P. Tachard) we have, in the (approximately) true position of Narcondam, Isle Haute, whilst an islet without name appears in the approximate position of Barren Island.

NARD, s. The rhizome of the plant Nardostachys Jatamansi, D.C., a nati ve of the loftier Himalaya (allied to Valerian). This is apparently an Indian word originally, but, as we have it, it has come from the Skt. nalada through Semitic media, whence the change of l into r; and in this form it is found both in Hebrew and Greek. [Prof. Skeat gives: “F. nard, L. nardus. Greek [Greek Text] nardoV, Pers. nard

  By PanEris using Melati.

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