SUNDERBUNDS, n.p. The well-known name of the tract of intersecting creeks and channels, swampy islands, and jungles, which constitutes that part of the Ganges Delta nearest the sea. The limits of the region so-called are the mouth of the Hoogly on the west, and that of the Megna (i.e. of the combined great Ganges and Brahmaputra) on the east, a width of about 220 miles. The name appears not to have been traced in old native documents of any kind, and hence its real form and etymology remain uncertain. Sundara-vana, ‘beautiful forest’; Sundari-vana, or -ban, ‘forest of the Sundari tree’; Chandra- ban, and Chandra-band, ‘moon-forest’ or ‘moon-embankment’; Chanda-blanda, the name of an old tribe of salt-makers;1 Chandra dip-ban from a large zemindary calle d Chandra-dip in the Bakerganj district at the eastern extremity of the Sunderbunds; these are all suggestions that have been made. Whatever be the true etymology, we doubt if it is to be sought in sundara or sundari. [As to the derivation from the Sundari tree which is perhaps most usually accepted, Mr. Beveridge (Man. of Bakarganj, 24, 167, 32) remarks that this tree is by no means common in many parts of the Bakarganj Sunderbunds; he suggests that the word means ‘beautiful wood’ and was possibly given by the Brahmans.] The name has never (except in one quotation below) been in English mouths, or in English popular orthography, Soonderbunds, but Sunderbunds, which implies (in correct transliteration) an original sandra or chandra, not sundara. And going back to what we conjecture may be an early occurrence of the name in two Dutch writers, we find this confirmed. These two writers, it will be seen, both speak of a famous Sandery, or Santry, Forest in Lower Bengal, and we should be more positive in our identification were it not that in Van der Broucke’s map (1660) which was published in Valentijn’s East Indies (1726) this Sandery Forest is shown on the west side of the Hoogly R., in fact about due west of the site of Calcutta, and a little above a place marked as Basanderi, located near the exit into the Hoogly of what repr esents the old Saraswati R., which enters the former at Sankral, not far below the Botanical Gardens, and 5 or 6 miles below Fort William. This has led Mr. Blochmann to identify the Sanderi Bosch with the old Mahall Basandhari which appears in the Ain as belonging to the Sirkar of Sulimanabad (Gladwin’s Ayeen, ii. 207, orig. i. 407; Jarrett, ii. 140; Blochm. in J.A.S.B. xlii. pt. i. p. 232), and which formed one of the original “xxiv. Pergunnas.”2 Undoubtedly this is the Basanderi of V. den Broucke’s map; but it seems possible that some confusion between Basanderi and Bosch Sandery (which would be Sandarban in the vernacular) may have led the map-maker to misplace the latter. We should gather from Schulz3 that he passed the Forest of Sandry about a Dutch mile below Sankral, which he mentions. But his statement is so nearly identical with that in Valentijn that we apprehend they have no separate value. Valentijn, in an earlier page, like Bernier, describes the Sunderbunds as the resort of the Arakan pirates, but does not give a name (p. 169).

1661.—“We got under sail again” (just after meeting the Arakan pirates) “in the morning early, and went past the Forest of Santry, so styled because (as has been credibly related) Alexander the Great with his mighty army was hindered by the strong rush of the ebb and flood at this place, from advancing further, and therefore had to turn back to Macedonia.”—Walter Schulz, 155.

c. 1666.—“And thence it is” (from piratical raids of the Mugs, &c.) “that at present there are seen in the mouth of the Ganges, so many fine Isles quite deserted, which were formerly well peopled, and where no other Inhabitants are found but wild Beasts, and especially Tygers.”—Bernier, E.T. 54; [ed. Constable, 442].

1726.—“This (Bengal) is the land wherein they will have it that Alexander the Great, called by the Moors, whether Hindostanders or Persians, Sulthaan Iskender, and in their historians Iskender Doulcarnain, was … they can show you the exact place where King Porus held his court. The natives will prate much of this matter; for example, that in front of the SANDERIE-WOOD (Sanderie Bosch, which we show in the map, and which they call properly after him Iskenderie) he was stopped by the great and rushing streams.”—Valentijn, v. 179.

1728.—“But your petitioners did not arrive off Sunderbund Wood till four in the evening, where they rowed backward and forward for six days; with which labour and want of provisions three of the people died.”—Petition of Sheik Mahmud Ameen and others, to Govr. of Ft. St. Geo., in Wheeler, iii. 41.

1764.—“On the 11th Bhaudan, whilst the Boats were at Kerma in Soonderbund, a little before daybreak, Captain Ross arose and ordered the Manjee to put off with the Budgerow. …”—Native Letter regarding Murder of Captain John Ross by a Native Crew. In Long, 383. This instance is an exception to the general remark made above that the English popular orthography has always been Sunder, and not Soonder-bunds.

1786.—“If the Jelinghy be navigable we shall soon be in Calcutta; if not, we must pass

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