How does the SAHARA desert got its name?

From Tue May 4 17:47:07 1999
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 11:04:02 -0400
From: National Geographic Forum
To: "Dr.Y.S. Rao"
Subject: Re: Sahara word & Sanskrit

Dear Sir/Madam,

This has reference to your article on Sahara desert in your recent National Geography Magazine.

I wish to bring some points on how the word "Sahara" derived from Sanskrit language which is the mother of all languages and it is very ancient and belongs to vedic period. We, Indians feel Sahara was derived from Sanskrit word "Sagara" (means Ocean) instead of Arabic word "Sahra". Ocean might have receded or dried out in that area a very long back. We feel Sanskrit is a powerful language with good grammer and consists of 50 letters. We also strongly feel that sound of word was more important than its meaning. There are words, the very sound of which denotes their meaning. Take the word "danta" of Sanskrit. It means a tooth. We have to use our teeth produce the sound of the word "danta". The tongue has to make an impact on the teeth. Toothless person may not vocalise the word "danta" clearly. Consider the English word "dental". There is so much similarity between "dant" and "dent". In languages like French and Latin also the word for tooth is akin to "dent". You may ask question "why shouldn't you derive the Sanskrit word "danta" from "dental"? But you must consider the fact that to say "danta" you have to use your teeth. No so to "dental". You get the sound "dental" as a result of of the tip of your tongue touching your upper palate. It is only in Sanskrit that the word itself signify its meaning. So, that must be the root form of the word. Hence languages like English, French, Latin, etc. must have been derived from Sanskrit. So Sahara from Sanskrit "Sagara". Some other words which are similar to Sanskrit are Man (means thinking in Sanskrit) is similar to Man in English. Infact man is considered a thinking animal.

Depending on the location some letters have got changed in words. For example, some words are common to Christians and Islam, but in Arabic there are pronounced differently. For example,
Joseph became Yusuf.
Jehovah became Yehovah
There are differences among Christian nations too.
In some languages, you see "ja" is prominent.
Jesu and Yesu (The name of the very founder of Christianity)
Similarly "Dyan-Pitar" becomes "Yau-Pital" and then Jupiter.
Sanskrit words lose their initial letter when borrowed by other languages.
This is just to present our Indian views and I hope you appreciate it.
thanking you,

Yours faithfully,


Dr. Y.S. Rao
Research Scientist Ph. : +91-22-5767683, 5785947
Centre of Studies in Resources Engg. Fax : +91-22-5783190, 5783480
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay Email:
Powai, Mumbai-400 076, India

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