One man in India is the head of a particularly notable family. Indeed, with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren, his is supposedly the biggest brood in the world. And, amazingly, they all live under the one roof.
Ziona is the man with the supersized clan, and he was born in 1945 in the village of Baktawng in the northeast of India. However, just like his life now, his upbringing was far from typical. That’s because his father was the founder of the Christian sect called Chana Pawl.
Established in 1942, Chana Pawl today boasts around 2,000 followers, all of whom live in the village of Baktawng Tlangnuam. By all accounts, its members are renowned for the quality of their craftsmanship. What they’re perhaps more famous for, though, is their belief in polygamy.
And, having wed ten different women over the course of just a single year, Ziona in particular seems to be a strong proponent of polygamy. However, according to him, his multiple proposals are made with good intentions. Specifically, he has claimed that he marries the poorer girls in his village in order to give them better lives.
Meanwhile, while explaining how she came to marry Ziona, one wife named Rinkmini said that he pursued her after she caught his eye one morning in the village. What’s more, when he asked for her hand in marriage, she was apparently more than willing to agree. “He is the most handsome person in the village,” she later told the Daily Mail.
And thanks to his habit of wedding multiple women, Ziona had an astonishing 39 wives by the time he was 67. Moreover, he had 94 children as well as 33 grandchildren, and so his became known as the biggest family in the world.
But while the mere thought of having so many spouses might be enough to stress many people out, Ziona has claimed that he instead feels “blessed.” He told The Sun, “Today I feel like God’s special child. He’s given me so many people to look after.”
“I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family,” he added. Yet there’s no denying the fact that organization helps him keep on top of his massive brood. Indeed, every day he runs his family life like a military operation.
With the help of his first wife Zathiangi, Ziona allocates each of his wives a daily chore. And while she may be in her seventies, Zathiangi still runs a tight ship. Whether it’s washing, cleaning or cooking, everyone will have something to do.
In order to get a head start on their various tasks, the family begin their day at 5:50 a.m. They say a prayer before someone assigns the daily chores. Then they work through the day before stopping for their family meal in the early evening.
Just keeping the group well-fed is quite a feat in itself, though, as the family typically get through around 100 pounds of rice, 44 pounds of pulses and 77 pounds of meat per meal. And the number of dishes that need to be washed afterwards simply doesn’t even bear thinking about.
To make matters even more complicated, all Ziona’s relatives live under the same roof. In fact, he built a special four-story home on the side of a mountain to house all of them. Inside, the building has more than a hundred rooms, including communal bedrooms for all his wives.
But while the women share dormitories, Ziona himself has his own room, complete with a double bed. His wives, furthermore, take it in turns to each spend a week in his company. However, they have claimed – rather improbably – that none of them become jealous of one another.
“Every wife, save for the post-menopause lot, gets to spend a week in Pu Ziona’s room,” Ziona’s 18th wife, Lalruatkimi, told The Times of India. “During this period, she takes care of all his needs.”
And in order to make life easier for himself, Ziona keeps his younger wives closest to his sleeping quarters. The older ones, by contrast, have to live further afield. Even so, the women all apparently have a “mutual love and respect” for one another.
In fact, the older ladies in the household also take care of the younger ones. For example, with the family still growing as Ziona and his children continue to reproduce, there’s a demand for midwives. Thankfully for all the women who fall pregnant, Ziona’s eldest wives are now dab hands at delivering babies.
“We don’t need any nurses or doctors at childbirth,” Ziona’s son Parliana proudly told The Times of India. “Our womenfolk have enough experience, and no woman in this house has suffered from any sort of complications during or after delivery.”
But the family’s work doesn’t end there. As Ziona and the rest of his sect are completely self-sufficient, they grow and harvest all their food crops. Furthermore, there’s even an on-site school where their children are educated.
Ziona hasn’t ruled out marrying more wives, either. Indeed, he’s even said that he’s prepared to travel further afield to find his next bride. “To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the U.S. to marry,” he told the Daily Mail.
There’s therefore no telling how big Ziona’s family might grow in the future. But given that he is now in his seventies, it’s natural to wonder whether his clan’s supposed unity will survive his death. What’s more, his passing would leave a question mark over the future of the entire Chana Pawl sect that his father founded.