Friday, March 23, 2007

Members of SDD yahoogroups have sent their condolences for Jonathan’s untimely death

I am shocked to hear about jonathan. And i will pray that his vision and enthusiasm is continued amongst all of us.It is one way to pay our respect to his soul. We must do what we must, now, and not leave for tomorrow what we can do today. We will miss him.

Ruma Roka
Noida ( near New Delhi, India ) March 16, 2007

I am very shocked to see your message regarding Jonathan 's death.Is it true that you brought him with 2 female Nigerians to Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf (SKID) in November 2006? Pl let me know how he died. I saw that Jonathan was a soft tempered man with smile.He talked with the students of SKID. On behalf of SKID I pray God for the soul.

Srinivas ( Deaf Teacher from Bangalore, India ),
March 16, 2007

I was extremely sad to read the news about the death of Jonathan. I still cannot believe this as he still appears to be infront of my eyes. I did not see my mail because i had to do a lot of study and no time but when i finished my exams and went to internet cafe. I was shocked to read about his death. When i opened my mail box i was very sad. I have never met anyone in Africa. I met him in Kolhapur for first time. He was a very good lecturer in program. I never forget and smile again at him. May his soul rest in peace and god give strength to the bereaved family.

Thanking you.

With Regards

Vikas.B.Vinchhi & Kishan Raju ( Bangalore, India ) 15th March

I am taken aback to learn the demise of Jonathan. I express my heartfelt condolence on his sudden death. It makes me nostalgic, to remember the pleasant time we had when we met IRYLA event in India. His dressing like an Indian touched my heart profoundly. Words are less to describe how bad I feel losing Jonathan. I pray for peace of his soul. God bless thy spirit amen.


Rajesh Ketkar
( Vadodara, India )
14th March

We felt shocked about Jonathan..we are feeling very sad for him..we remember Jonathan spent time with Samir,Chandramouli,Asha,Deepak,Anantadev and me(vVnky) at national college for shopping in last nov 2006, we had gud time with Jonathan,Lucy and Antonia very nice. Our heartfelt condolence..We will truly miss a great soul like Jonathan.


Vinky and Samir Munshi
( Bangalore, India )

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poetic thoughts and songs of the season for Jonathan



Whither the gold fish so rare to catch
Whither the tall iroko tree standing majestically
Above other trees in the forest?
Whither our great revolutionist - Jonathan Tinat
Why are the good ones rarely last
When the bad and ugly ones bestrode the land
Like a colossus?

Refrain: The good ones rarely last a lifetime
Their stars appeared and shone briefly
And, suddenly extinct from the
Plunging mankind into darkness
Until another bright star cometh
To uplift mankind again.

Whither the great Dinosaur - that ancient animal
Whither the great whale - that king of ocean
Terror of the acquatic landscape?
Whither our great Generallismo and Marshal of our
Who will now lead our foot-soldiers into battle
Why are the Master Strategists an endanger species?

Refrain: The good ones ............

Whither the Lion, King of animals and forest
Whither the great polar bear of the cold
icy habitat, hunter of fishes?
Whither our own great hunter, teacher and orator
Is it not true that what we loves to do
With passions often kill us in the end?
Our hunter, teacher and orator has gone not return

Refrain: The good ones ...........

Whither the great python - that king of snakes
Whither the great dragon- of the family of the
Carnivorous reptiles, which also spits fire!
Here in the deaf Naija community, an icon, a bright star
A great idealist and charismatic leader has just departed
Adieu! Jonathan Tinat, we shall missed you greatly.

Refrain: The good ones rarely ...........


As I walk beside a riverbed
A riverbed full of lovely plants
Plants well - nurtured and irrigated
With the water from the river
All tenderly lovely plants.

Some of the plants
Long grown into mighty trees
Over the years
I look and behold new fresh and young
plants and trees some in the nursery

Then, I look and saw their name-tags
Each of the lovely plants can be identified
I was amazed to read the names
Of leaders and demagogues world over.

I found the names of Nkrumaism, Awoism, Aminu Kanoism,
Nehruism, Zikism, Maoism, Marxism, Stallinism,
Cabraism, Negritudism, Malcom Xism, Marthin
Lutherism, and so forth
All very beautiful pedagogical names both great and

Then far in a corner I found a young bud
Just sprouted a few days old
I look to find it's name-tag
I was surprised to read the name- TINATISM.

Adieu! Jonathan Tinat, your name has been etched
In evergreen memory in our hearts who loves you.


A Eulogy for Jonathan from Bunmi

Dear Friends:

The terrible news of Engineer Jonathan La'ah Tinat's untimely death came as a complete shock to us. We are shocked to the marrow of our bones. It has taken me 2 days to digest this, and now I accept that this isn't just a nightmare I'll wake up from. This is reality.

Jonathan was a wonderful man. Hard-working, honest, he had a vision and a dream and a mission to uplift Deaf Nigerians and in doing so, uplift his own country through the contributions Deaf people, given opportunities that they deserve by virtue of their abilities, can make. This is the epitome of patriotism, and Jonathan was prime among the unsung patriots. He may be unsung, but his legacy and his memory will be honored not only in Nigeria but also in places as far afield as Ghana, India, the UK and the USA.

I first met Jonathan in 1985 on arrival day during the Special Olympics which were held at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Every state of the Federation of Nigeria was represented, so all the pieces of the Nigerian puzzle were there to participate in a variety of sports, from track to soccer to field to table tennis; and we were housed in the Games Village, Surulere. I was player-coach for the old Ondo state's soccer team, Jonathan was 15, going on 16, a very good football player for Plateau state. He was clearly very intelligent, had his own mind, and we talked for 5 minutes about "his" ball, which he didn't want to share!

Thereafter, Jonathan drifted in and out of my orbit. He studied Engineering at The Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti; we met briefly during that time, me a lawyer, himself an aspiring Mining Engineer; but I never heard of him again until 2000.

In his brief lifetime, this wonderful yong man accomplished many things. Of more importance to me however is his raft of accomplishments as twice in a row democratically elected volunteer President of a struggling, undermanned but brave voluntary organization dedicated to the social, legal and political betterment of Deaf Nigerians, the Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD). His Presidency saw unprecedented strides that must bring smiles to the faces of progressive-minded people everywhere. His achievements include:

1. International Deaf Leadership Training institute in December 2005, organized and delivered by Gallaudet University;
2. Seminar delivered by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Matters (NAPTIP) in December 2005;
3. Leadership Training Program delivered to 6 Deaf Nigerian leaders from each of the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory by the Citizenship and Leadership Training Center in the Nigerian Presidency at Shere Hills, Jos in 2005;
4. Leading of a NNAD delegation to the International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards-The Deaf Way conference in India in 2006. (see;
5. Establishment of Presidential-level relations with the Ghana National Association of the deaf (GNAD);
6. Ongoing work towards developing a coalition of Anglophone West African NADs;
7. Ongoing plans to jointly hold a Leadership Training institute for Deaf Anglophone west Africans with GNAD;
8. Amendment of the NNAD constitution to extend elected officers' terms from 2 to 4 years;
9. Comprehensive process for identifying and engaging NNAD's various stakeholders;
10. Ongoing, steady and strategic work towards creating the NNAD's first ever strategic plan document;
11. Through his recognized dynamism, increased membership of, and interest in, the NNAD;
12. securing of a permanent office for the NNAD's national headquarters in Nigeria's Federal Capital, Abuja;
13. tours of various Deaf organizations in India with a view to replicating their models in Nigeria;
14. and many more.

In addition, Jonathan was in the running for the position of West Africa regional representative on the Board of the WFD during the forthcoming elections to be held in July 2007. See

Unprecedented strides, remarkable accomplishments. Jonathan was productive. Jonathan was driven. Jonathan accomplished and planned to accomplish all these things as the volunteer national president of a voluntary, membership-driven organization. In his day job, he was a school teacher at the Plateau School for the Deaf, his alma mater. On his teacher's income, he supported his beloved wife Andwa, their 2 small children, his aged mother, who lived with him, and father, and 2 young cousins, whose schooling he funded until his untimely death. And as the oldest son, with 4 younger brothers and 3 younger sisters, he had responsibility for their upbringing. He now leaves behind, a young widow, 2 orphans, bereaved siblings, a bereaved mother and father whose hope it was for Jonathan to bury them, and 2 cousins whose education is in jeopardy.

So much work still to do, so many plans still to finalize, so much still to implement. No more time. Jonathan has heeded the timeless saying of the griots of all the ages to leave the field when the ovation is loudest, and now that the ovation is at its peak, he is no longer with us. We will all miss him. Only the good die young.

And so the task Jonathan La'ah Tinat leaves you, the inheritors of his mantle, is enormous. I can describe it in simple words: you have to carry on his work at the same level of vision, integrity, inclusiveness, ambition, drive and commitment. Who among you will step forward to continue Jonathan's sterling work?

Jonathan, you've fought the good fight, lived a good life. Now rest in the Risen Christ's perfect peace.

Director of the Office of International Programs and Services
Gallaudet University

Bunmi Aina, Advisory Committee Member, received a Honors degree in Law from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria in 1990, and completed his legal education at the Nigerian Law School the following year. After 3 years legal work including time as a senior editor with the Nigerian Weekly Law Reports, he entered the Social Work program at Gallaudet University in the Fall of 1994, and graduated with an MSW in 1996. He was an ESL instructor at ELI between 1995 and 1999 when he left for SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID) of Howard College in Big Spring Texas where he was the founding Director of the Diagnostic Center. In June 2003, Bunmi moved from this position to Gallaudet University as Director of the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lucy laments over the loss of a dearest Jonathan

What can I say? Where do I begin to say what I want to say? Right at this moment, I am in the valley of unbelief and shock. The news is yet to sink in that Jonathan is gone, gone forever from this mortal earth. I still feel like we are gonna meet on Thursday next week...or even tomorrow. Such has been my association with Jonathan...we meet every Thursday of each week to go on advocacy works and excursions. But if for any reason Jonathan is unable to come, he always SMSs me to let me know in advance. But this silence is eerie...Jonathan, where are you?
What can I do? What can I say? The depth of my pain is unfathomable. Infact am short for words...for no amount of words can bring you back...though I wish if words were horses, you will fly in to meet me with the sound and blast of the trumpet...

Yet I have to are gone. But why? Why do you have to go now? Remember our appointment on Monday, 12th March, 2007 at 2.30 PM. Why are you late? It is strange because you are hardly late to appointments...Jonathan, is it true? That you are gone? Jonathan, when will you be back from your trip? I have so much mails waiting for your signature, remember?

Yet you have gone...the reality is there for me to see...I still remember and feel the embrace of your beloved wife...on sighting me on my arrival at your home, she hugged me so tight I thought I was gonna break in two...I saw mama cry bitter tears...and Becky, oh she tried to be so brave, yet the tears came. Did you see us??? Why didn't you come in and say 'Sorry I was teasing, am not dead, I faked it'? That was typical of you..always teasing with that silly smile of yours. Yet the Reality is have reached the end of your journey...this earth was not your home, you were only passing through... on your way to a better place...the better place of the chosen..where there shall be no more tears, neither sorrow nor idyllic have gone, this much I have to believe....

Yet one thing is still live took so many bold steps none ever took and can never take after you. It was you that has that special uniqueness and peculiarity. You it was that took me out of my shell...we didn't know each other before October 2005, yet on our first meeting you made me feel like I had known you all my life. You saw what I never knew I maximized my potentials and took me to heights unknown...oh what have you not made out of me??? You made me a leader..the more you encouraged me the more I grew...only you had that special touch.

Your legacy shall live forever...your achievements speak for themselves...deaf people have a future started by is a long long way and the journey is lonely and depressing..with your spirit guiding us we shall overcome our oppressors...they are so many - injustice, discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, oh I could go on and on...let me not disturb your sleep..sleep on till we meet again to part no more...
See you on resurrection day...Adieu!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Anantadev Remembering Jonathan


This morning K.S.Chandramouli smsed me by saying that he got sms from Lucy Upah of Nigeria informing him that Jonathan L Tinat ( President of Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (HQ) fell into coma on Saturday and passed away yesterday ( 12th March ). I could hardly believe this shocking news. Jonathan is one of my good friends.

How did I meet him for 1st time? In the 2nd week of November 2006 at IRYLA event, Ichalakaranji Rotarian Dr.Dilip Deshmukh, who had arranged a double hotel room for me to stay, asked me whether a deaf male delegate from Nigeria who would come soon could share the same room with me. I nodded. Jonathan, Lucy and Antonia introduced themselves to many delegates including myself. At the very first meeting I and Jonathan became good acquaintances.

I saw that his Bible book was lying near his bed in the hotel room. This showed that he was a believer of God. In order to clear his misconception of Hare Krishna he became curious about Hare Krishna philosophy and learnt a lot from me about it. Jonathan remarked that this philosophy was very beautiful.

I invited him and two friends of his to stay in my place in Bangalore. They was greatly impressed by the colourful city of Bangalore and wanted to extend their stay for more days. Being comfortable with my and other deaf friends’ goodwill they spent about one week here. Jonathan endeared himself to everyone.

He loved India, her food, culture and people. He came to India for the first time and conquered people here by his friendship but were also conquered by great goodwill of people here. He presented me a Nigerian cap. Since he said it cost around Rs.1800/=, I am still keeping it as a token of memorial friendship.

He was a supporter of SDD. He said that he would welcome me to establish SDD center in Nigeria. This shows that he believes firmly in communal harmony and peace. He felt strongly that my lecture on proverbs and spiritual values would be of great use to the deaf in Nigeria if I come there.

He had a good sense of humour. He shared jokes with me. He sometimes burst into laughter whenever I joked. He said he loved my jokes, wits and humours. He was full of enthusiasm to serve the deaf. He was one of the gifted leaders for the deaf. He was the President of Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (HQ). He was popular among the deaf communities in Africa. He aspired to represent the deaf community of Africa in the World Federation of the Deaf in July 2007. But his death embraced him leaving this aspiration unfulfilled. It is God’s will which is more important than everything. My prayer to Him is to let Jonathan’s soul be in peace.

When Jonathan heard from me that India Deaf Expo was expected to be held in Bangalore in 2009, he got very excited about taking part in this expo with his Nigerian members. But death unexpectedly took him away. Bhagavad-Gita taught us not to lament too much over our dear relatives/friends’ death. So uncontrollable lament was unnecessary. But of course! we miss our great friend Jonathan. It will be great if he is with God in His abode. We are His instruments so we cannot thwart untimely death. Death is inevitable whether it is timely or untimely.
Rtn Dr.Dilip Deshmukh described him as a genius and considered his death as a great loss.
Visit his beautiful website: .
May Jonathan’s soul be in peace.
Hare Krishna!

A message from Dr. Surinder for Jonathan

Jonathan, i had to leave RYLA midway and rush back home for my graduation ceremony....but what was the big rush for you, my dear that you decided to leave the world where you were so much loved and admired? I who never met you in person seem to know you so very well through others that I feel your warm presence right around me. May your soul rest in peace jonathan but am sure you would be worried about your unfullfilled tasks but don't worry, there is an army out there which will see to it that 'Your vision becomes its Mission'. But the world would be the same without you.

with love from

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dr.Dilip's letter to Jonathan

March 15, 2007

My Dear Jonathan,

Where are you? Still your smiling face is in front of me. I can see you. I can see the glory on your face, the zeal, the excitement to work for the betterment of the deaf. All is crystal clear.

Do you remember? Before few weeks, we - Naty, Anantadev and you – were chatting. At that time, none of us just had a glimpse that it would be our last chat. You have called Anatadev as your ‘Spiritual Guru’, Naty as ‘Mother’ and me as ‘Grand Father’. Oh My ‘Grand Son’! You can’t leave the world before me. You can’t go ahead of me. You are reversing the natural process. Do you know? You have made us ‘Poor Orphans’. Still we need you, the deaf community needs you. It is just impossible to gulp this grief. One eminent philosopher had said, ‘The world is a stage and everybody is playing a role designated by HIM.’ Yes, we are on the stage and performing the role allotted by HIM. But it is too early to get the exit.

When we visit the website as well as when we see the pictures at (Type screenname: irylatdw, password: india), we feel that the event is still going on. Still the memories of ‘IRYLATDW’ (International RYLA – The Deaf Way) are so fresh that I feel, the event was held only yesterday. Your first email showed the spark in you.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: Re: Rotary Club of Ich'‘International RYLA – The Deaf Way’

Hello Deelip,
Thank you for sharing this good news with Nigeria national Assocaition of the Deaf, It is worth attending. I will share the news with other deaf friends and see what we can do.
Congratulations and more grease to your elbow.

Jonathan Tinat

National President
Nigeria National Association of the Deaf.
“Congratulations and more grease to your elbow.”

Let me tell you that only you can write such words. This first email showed the spark in you. And then our long, uninterrupted communication & friendship started. You were the first to receive international sponsorship for registration from ‘Bunmi Aina’ (Director of the Office of International Programs and Services, Gallaudet University). The way Bunmi took rapid steps for paying your registration fees, I could realize, how much faith he had in you. Later on after so many interactions with you by email, I too developed firm faith and confidence in your ability and leadership. Because you were always taking care of others. I know the efforts you had undertaken to procure the sponsorship for others. You were a ‘True Leader’, as you were the example of ‘Service Above Self’ – the Rotary’s principle.

Yes, it was ‘HIS PLAN’. In spite of so many hurdles and hassles, you were with us at ‘IRYLATDW (hosted by Rotary Club of Ichalkaranji, Dist. 3170, India). Because ‘HIS BLESSINGS’ are with us. Repeatedly we had uttered this sentence. Because we could meet you, interact with you. We had some of the happiest moments of our life during this historical event. Before your exit, HE has planned this itinerary of your visit to India, because HE wanted all of us to meet.

Natty and all of us, who know you and who have heard of you, had flown so much tears. We are recovering from this dreadful shock. It is stated in Gita, “Death is inevitable, body is destructible but Soul is immortal”. I know, your body is not with us but YOU are with US. Your ‘Vision, Mission and Affirmation’ (Ref: is with us. We express condolence by taking an oath that we will work in unity and harmony to fulfill your ‘Vision and Mission’. Let me reaffirm my promise given to you. As a ‘Rotary Volunteer’, I will be in Nigeria one or the other day for my presentation on ‘Sign Language and Bilingualism in Deaf Education’.

As usual let me conclude that ‘Our endeavors will be continued till the deaf in the developing countries will be able to enjoy life like ‘The Deaf Way’.

Yours loving ‘Grand Pa’,

Dr. Dilip Deshmukh
Rotary Volunteer for Promotion of 'Sign Language and Bilingualism in Deaf Education',
Rotary Dist. 3170, India