|Known for||Fathering the largest living family|
Ziona (/zai'awna/) (often misnamed in the non-native media as Ziona Chana; born 21 July 1945) is the leader of Chana páwl, a Christian sect formed in June 1942, which survives in the mountains of Mizoram state of India, sharing borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar. He is known for holding a world record as the head of the "world's largest existing family" with 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren, 180 in total and counting. The family is now living in Baktawng village, Mizoram, India. Ziona was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! top 11 strangest stories for the year 2011, and in 2013's Ripley Believe It or Not book 9.
Ziona is chief of the group known as "Chana Pawl", which was established by his father. The sect practices polygamy. Chana sect followers claim that its origin is traced to the Bible's Revelation Chapter 20 to "Kum Sang Rorel" or the rule of 1,000 years by Jesus Christ on Earth. The sect was originally named Khuangtuaha Pawl, after the founder Khuangtuaha. He founded it on 12 June 1942, when its disciples were removed from Hmawngkawn village by the headman of the village for propagating a theology considered "wrong and dangerous". The sect celebrates its founding day as "Bawkte Kut" or the festival of the hut on 12 June every year. Members of the Chana sect number about 2,000 who reside in the Baktawng Tlangnuam village.
Ziona hails from the village of Baktawng in central Serchhip district, which is 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the south of Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. He was born on 21 July 1945. He married at the age of 17 to Zathiangi, his first wife, who is older than him by three years. She controls the household activities of the family with strict discipline. Ten of his wives he married in the span of one year.
Ziona built a four-storied mansion which appears like a boarding house, to accommodate his large family. The house is called the "Chhuan Thar Run" or the House of the New Generation and is located in the mountainous village of Baktawng. There is also a 'Khualbuk' or a guesthouse to accommodate visitors coming to the village. Ziona has a double bedroom in the ground floor of this mansion and his wives take turns to sleep with him according to a roster. His younger wives stay close to his room on the same floor and there are always seven to eight wives attending to his needs during the day. All older wives live in the dormitories on the first floor of the mansion, while his younger wives live on the ground floor. His wives claim that there is no rivalry among them. Of his 39 wives, 22 are below the age of 40 and they get a week to spend with him. He has 26 sons-in-law and his daughters live separately with their families. He says that he has named all his children and grandchildren and he remembers the names of every member of his family.
Ziona's family is self-reliant, growing crops for their food requirements. He has also established a school for his children, and his younger brother looks after its functioning. Though teaching in the school is based on a curriculum prescribed by the government, he has added some subjects specific to his Chana sect. He does not seek any assistance from the government.
Ziona's wives do the cooking, and his daughters attend to cleaning of the house and take care of washing laundry. Men of the family attend to livestock rearing, agriculture (jhum cultivation), small cottage industries of wood furniture (carpentry), aluminum utensil making, and so forth.
Ziona's 68th birthday was celebrated on 21 July 2013 with 150 guests.
Ripley's Believe It or Not!, while recording Ziona's family as the largest living family in the world, observed: "It's a safe bet that Ziona Chana would not be impressed watching 19 Kids and Counting or Sister Wives. The 74-year-old Indian man has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren."
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- Gregory, Andrew (21 October 2011). "World's largest family with 181 members live in 100-room, four-storey house in India". The Mirror. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "Man has 39 wives, nearly 100 children". Reuters. 22 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "Family: Ziona Chana has 39 wifes and 94 children: a world record (Video)". Worldrecord Academy. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Indian with 39 wives, 94 kids is the strangest story of 2011". The Hindu. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Ripley's Entertainment Inc. (27 August 2013). Ripley's Special Edition 2014. Scholastic. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-0-545-62260-8.
- "Reviews in Brief". Ripley's Believe It or Not. Ripley Entertainment Inc. 11 November 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "Mizo man has 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren". DNA India. 20 February 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Koh, Maureen (21 February 2012). "Wife No.39 is 'luckiest woman in the world'". Asiaone. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "They eat 100kg of rice a day". Asiaone. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.