World’s Biggest Family: Ziona Chana Has 39 Wifes and 94 Children

NEW YORK | Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 4:07am EDT

Ziona Chana, a 66-year-old man in India’s remote northeast, has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren, all living under one roof.

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The World's Biggest Family: a photograph of the 181 members of the Ziona family in Baktawang, Mizoram, India. Photo: Richard Grange

The head of the family and leader of the “Chana” sect is 66-year-old Ziona Chana who is the ‘proud’ head of a jumbo sized family of 39 wives, 94 children, 14-daughters-in-laws and 33 grandchildren – setting the world record for the Biggest family.

Mr Chana met his oldest wife, who is three years older than he is, when he was 17. “I once married 10 women in one year,” said Ziona Chana.

They all live in a four storied building with 100 rooms in a mountainous village in Mizoram state, sharing borders with Burma and Bangladesh.

Chana thanks God for giving him a huge family to look after and considers himself as ‘a lucky man.’ He told The Sun (UK): “Today I feel like God’s special child. He’s given me so many people to look after.”

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He lives with his family in a 100-room, four-storyed house named 'Chhuan That Run' or the House of the New Generation- in the hills of Baktawng village, in the Indian state of Mizoram. Photo: Richard Grange

“I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family,” he added. All the men of the family work as carpenters and Ziona says proudly: “We don’t want any help from the government.”

He heads a local Christian religious sect, 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.

He sleeps in his own double-bedded room while his wives have to adjust in dormitories. The younger wives stay in rooms closer to his room. During the day he likes to have seven or eight wives with him all the time to wait on him hand and foot.

A typical meal can see them plucking 30 chickens, peeling 132lb of spuds and boiling up 220lb of rice. All the cooking is done over an open fire kept burning throughout the day.

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The sons and their wives, and all their children, live in different rooms in the same building, but share a common kitchen. Photo: Richard Grange

Ziona’s eldest wife Zathiangi, 69, delegates all the daily duties around the house to his other wives, their daughters and the daughters-in-law. Every day there is a mountain of washing to get through – all done by hand.

And how often does a wife get to sleep with Chana? – A ‘rotation system’ is maintained, he says. Surprisingly, all the wives get along very well and there is hardly any infighting among them.

“We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house,” said Rinkmini, one of Mr Chana’s wives who is 35 years old. “He is the most handsome person in the village.”

She says Mr Chana noticed her on a morning walk in the village 18 years ago and wrote her a letter asking for her hand in marriage.

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Meal times are like feeding an army, with the women of the family spending hours making dinner. Photo: Richard Grange

Another of his wives, Huntharnghanki, said the entire family gets along well. The family system is reportedly based on ‘mutual love and respect.’

“If a family system is laid on the founding stone of mutual and genuine love and respect for each and every member, then the system is guaranteed to be a success,” she said.

And Mr Chana, whose religious sect has 4,00 members, says he has not stopped looking for new wives. “To expand my family, I am willing to go even to the United States to marry.” he proudly said.

However, the Guinness World Record for the largest family reunion is 2,585 and was achieved by the Lilly family at Flat Top, West Virginia, USA. [via World Record Academy, The Sun (UK) and Daily Mail (UK)]

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