Head of world’s ‘largest family’ dies in India, leaving behind 39 wives and 94 children

A man believed to have the world’s largest family, including 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, has died in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram.

Ziona Chana, 76, was the head of a polygamous Christian religious sect with 4,000 members, and his extended family all lived together in one 100-room, four-storied mansion in the remote village of Baktawng Tlangnuam.

Mr Chana, a construction worker, developed a rota system for which of his wives would share his bed on any given night, with his remaining spouses sharing a dormitory nearby.

“I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family,” Mr Chana told the Daily Mirror in 2012.

The polygamist married his first wife, Zathiangi, at the age of 17, and reportedly wedded 10 of his other wives in the space of one year.

Mr Chana with some of his wives in his bedroom in 2011 

Credit: Barcroft Media 

As his longest-standing wife, Zathiangi was given the responsibility of organising domestic chores.

His children and their partners lived in different rooms in the building but shared a common kitchen. The household was self-sufficient, running its own school and growing its own crops.

As a result, his unconventional mansion has become something of a tourist attraction.

A guesthouse had been constructed within the residence to accommodate visitors – including many from abroad.

Ziona Chana's four-storey purple mansion is called 'Chhuanthar Run', which means 'The House of the New Generation', and is home to all 181 members of the family

Credit: Barcroft Media 

“With heavy heart, Mizoram bid farewell to Ziona, believed to head the world’s largest family," said Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Zoramthanga, who like many inhabitants of the state goes by one name.  

"Mizoram and his village at Baktawng Tlangnuam has become a major tourist attraction in the state because of the family. Rest in Peace Sir!”

Doctors in Mizoram said Mr Chana died in the state capital of Aizawl after his diabetes and hypertension deteriorated.

There is some dispute as to whether Mr Chana was the head of the world’s largest family – one Canadian man has allegedly fathered 150 children.

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