World’s largest family, living together in India, set to hit 200 members, says report


Pu Ziona (not pictured) has 39 wives. His family is so big this portrait doesn’t even include all its members. Submitted photo

MIZORAN, India — The world’s largest family is set to expand again next month with the arrival of three babies at the Ziona clan’s four-storey mansion here in this city in northeast India.

Pu Ziona, the 69-year-old leader of the 35,000 strong Chana Pawl Christian sect, has 39 wives ranging in age from 32 to 73.

The family itself appears to have lost track of precisely how big it is. According to the World Record Academy in America, the Zionas became the world’s largest family in 2011. Its 181 members include 94 children, 33 grandchildren and 14 daughters-in-law.

However, last week The Times of India claimed the number of family members living in their 100-room mansion was about to hit the 200 mark with the birth of the three latest children — one from Ziona’s 38th wife, one grandchild and one great-grandchild.

According to the newspaper’s calculations, which it said were obtained from Ziona’s eldest son Parliana, 50, 55 of his children, 12 daughters-in-law, four sons-in-law and 86 of his 128 grandchildren were living in the home run by the 39 wives.

Efforts by The Sunday Times newspaper to establish the precise figure proved inconclusive after the family requested more time to work out by how much they had grown.

Their sprawling, pale purple home, which is known as Chhuanthar Run, meaning “new generation” in their native Mizo language, resembles a hotel and is run with military precision by Thiangi, Ziona’s eldest wife and matriarch-in-chief.

Every married couple gets a private room or cubicle and is given a monthly allowance, while children and young unmarried adults live in large dormitories. It is Thiangi who draws up a weekly rota of duties for the women and decides the all-important conjugal roster. Each wife, except for the post-menopausal spouses, is assigned a week with her husband.

Thiangi also has the task of making sure the family is fed, a logistical nightmare involving 99 pounds of rice, 44 pounds of pulses, 77 pounds of meat and 44 pounds of vegetables for every meal.

Parliana said the births would pose no problem. “We don’t need any nurses or doctors at childbirth. Our womenfolk have enough experience,” he said.

The Chana Pawl sect, founded by Ziona’s father in 1942, is nominally Christian.

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