The largest family in the world belongs to an Indian man, who seems like doing a Dhritrashtra (100 kids) – except that he is a Christian following a peculiar sect in the Indian state of Mizoram.
Residing in a 100-room four story mansion outside of Baktawang in Mizoram, Ziona Chana is married to 39 women with whom he has 94 children, 14-daughters-in-law, and 33 grandchildren and lives in hills of Baktwang village in Mizoram. Chana had first married at age 17.
His oldest wife is 70, and the youngest is 31. The wives sleep in communal dormitories (see pic below) with the youngest women sleeping closest to Chana and a rotation system for visitations. Chana had once married ten women in one year.
The family is organization almost reflects military discipline. Zathiangi, the oldest wife, organizes her “fellow partners” – other wives – into doing teh various household chores such as cleaning, washing and preparing meals.
What and how does such a large family eat? It is almost running an entire Hotel! Well, it takes 30 chickens, one “giant” pig, 55 lbs of rice and 88 lbs of potatoes for every meal cooked for the entire family.
Interestingly, the family grows its own crops and also keeps its own livestock – hens and pigs!
Chana keeps the youngest women near to his bedroom with the older members of the family sleeping further away and there is a rotation system for who visits Chana’s bedroom. (Image #5: Zuali, 37, twentieth wife of Ziona, adjusts his shirt as his sons and driver (Left) watch before heading towards the construction site of a church in Baktawng village)
Rinkmini, one of Chana’s wives, said, “We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house. He is the most handsome person in the village.” She said Chana noticed her on a morning walk in the village 18 years ago and wrote her a letter asking for her hand in marriage. Another of his wives, Huntharnghanki, said the entire family gets along well. The family system is reportedly based on ‘mutual love and respect’
Ziona heads a local Christian religious sect – which seems somewhat similar to Mormonism – called the “Chana”, which allows polygamy. Formed in June 1942, the sect believes it will soon be ruling the world with Christ and has a membership of around 400 families. In any case, Ziona has not stopped looking for new wives. ‘To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the U.S. to marry,’ he said. One of his sons insisted that Mr Chana, whose grandfather also had many wives, marries the poor women from the village so he can look after them.
But Ziona doesn’t appear fazed by the size of his apparently happy family — and doesn’t claim any benefits for their upkeep. ‘I feel like God’s special child. He’s given me so many people to look after,’ he said, adding, ‘I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family.’