A 76-year-old man believed to head the world’s largest family – with 38 wives, 89 children and 33 grandchildren – has died in India’s north-eastern state of Mizoram.
Ziona Chana, the head of a religious sect that practises polygamy, died on Sunday, state chief minister Zoramthanga said on Twitter, offering condolences.
Chana passed away from complications related to diabetes and hypertension, according to domestic news reports on Monday.
It is difficult to say if Chana was indeed the head of the world’s biggest family, but officials, including Zoramthanga, claim this to be the case. Media outlets refer to him as holding the record for heading the world’s largest family.
There are varying estimates on the size of his family. According to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” he had 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren, a total of 181 people.
The enormous family’s typical meal might consist of 30 chickens, 60 kilogrammes of potatoes and 100 kilogrammes of rice. The family lives in a four-storey mansion called “New Generation Home” with more than 100 rooms. His wives share a giant dormitory.
Mizoram and Chana’s mansion had become a “major tourist attraction”, Zoramthanga said, with people visiting to get a glimpse of the family’s lifestyle.
The deceased was the head of Chana’s Pawl, a minor Christian sect founded by his father in 1942.
The sect believes in polygamy and has about 2,000 members, most of them living in the village.
Chana married his first wife in 1959, when he was 15. His last marriage came in 2004, to a 25-year-old.
Polygamy is illegal under Indian law. However, a few tribes in India’s north-east allow polygamy under their customary laws, which state authorities permit.