Indian man who had 38 wives and 89 children dies

Chana’s family members pose for a group photograph outside their residence in Mizoram state in this October 7, 2011, photo [File: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

The head of the ‘largest family in the world’ has died. Ziona Chana, an Indian man from the northeastern state of Mizoram, headed a Christian sect that allowed polygamy for men. The 79-year-old died leaving 38 wives, 89 children, and 33 grandchildren.

According to local media, Chana died on Sunday afternoon due to complications related to diabetes and high blood pressure.

“He was taken to a private hospital in another district and as per the reports received, he passed away today (Sunday),” Kumar Abhishek, the deputy commissioner of Serchhip district, told Anadolu Agency.

Chana’s sect, called Chana Pawl, was founded by his father in 1942. It has about 2,000 members, most of them living in Mizoram’s Baktawang village. Chana and his large family was a tourist attraction for the village and Lal Thanhawla, former chief minister of Mizoram and a senior politician from the Congress party, told Anadolu news agency Chana’s death is a “very big loss to everyone”.

Chana and his family attracted tourists to their village

According to reports, Chana married his first wife in 1959 when he was 17. He also claimed to have once married ten wives in a single year. His last marriage came in 2004 to a 25-year-old.

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.

Polygamy is illegal in Indian but However, a few tribes in India’s northeast allow polygamy under their customary laws, which state authorities permit.