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head of the ‘world’s largest family’, dies in India’s Mizoram state

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A 76-year-old man who had 39 wives and 94 children and was said to be the head of the world’s largest family has died in north-east India, the Chief Minister of his home state says.

Ziona Chana, the head of a local Christian sect that allows polygamy, died on Sunday, Zoramthanga, the Chief Minister of Mizoram and who goes by one name, said in a Twitter post.

With 167 members, the family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether you count the grandchildren, of whom Mr Ziona has 33.

Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, has about 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total.

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Mr Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-storey pink structure with about 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

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The sect, named Chana, was founded by Mr Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families.

Mr Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married 10 wives in a single year.

The Ziona family house in Baktawng village has become a tourist attraction. Photo: Reuters

His wives shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

Despite his family’s large size, Mr Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview he wanted to boost its numbers.

“I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry,” he said.

“I have so many people to care for and look after, and I consider myself a lucky man.”

-Reuters/ABC

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