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Patriarch of 'World's Largest Family' Dies

Indian man Ziona Chana reportedly had 38 wives, 94 children
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2021 2:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – The patriarch of what is believed to be the world's biggest family has died, leaving 38 grieving widows behind. Polygamy is officially illegal in India, but Mizoram state in the country's northeast allows exceptions for some groups, including the Christian sect founded by Ziona Chana's grandfather in 1942. Chana, who died Sunday at age 76, had around 94 children and dozens of grandchildren, Deutsche Welle reports. They lived in a 100-room home he called the "New Generation Home," where many of his wives slept in a dormitory.

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Chana was head of the Chana Pawl sect, which has around 2,000 followers. He said he married his first wife in 1959, when he was 15. His most recent marriage was to a 25-year-old woman in 2004. Zoramthage, Mizoram state's chief minister, expressed his condolences, noting that Chana's home and village had become a major tourist attraction, the BBC reports. According to the Hindu, Chana had a total of 181 family members, a possible world record, though Canadian polygamist Winston Blackmore is believed to have had around 150 children with 27 wives. (Read more polygamy stories.)

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