Coming from a family of eight, my interest is often piqued when I come across stories about large families. If we had cable, we might be 19 Kids and Counting regulars. But 19 children seems small in comparison to this family in India. Get ready for this story from Reuters.
The more, the merrier is certainly true for Ziona Chana, a 66-year-old man in India’s remote northeast who has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren — and wouldn’t mind having more.
They all live in a four storied building with 100 rooms in a mountainous village in Mizoram state, sharing borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, media reports said.
Surely someone doesn’t marry 39 women because he gets bored. As a sidenote, the piece ends with the following line:
He heads a local Christian religious sect, called the “Chana,” which allows polygamy. Formed in June 1942, the sect believes it will soon be ruling the world with Christ and has a membership of around 400 families.
Reuters bases its information off of other media reports, but it’s unclear whether religion is the motivating factor here or whether this “sect” promotes polygamy. The video from Barcroft Media focuses on the bizarre, doing little to help people understand why the family operates the way it does.
The Daily Mail article casually mentions religion as a side note. “Coincidentally, Mr Chana is also head of a sect that allows members to take as many wives as he wants.” But religion does seem to play a role in a desire to reproduce.
[One of] his wives, Huntharnghanki, said the entire family gets along well. The family system is reportedly based on ‘mutual love and respect’
And Mr Chana, whose religious sect has 4,00 members, says he has not stopped looking for new wives.
‘To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the U.S. to marry,’ he said.
However, the article offers few details about the sect and whether the desire to reproduce is a pragmatic idea and/or religious idea.
The Sun (U.K.) speaks with some of the wives, who describe their husband almost like he is God.
During the day he likes to have seven or eight wives with him all the time to wait on him hand and foot.
Rinkimi, 35, married to Ziona for 11 years, says: “We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house. Serving him is like serving God. He’s the most handsome person in this village.
“I feel blessed to have him as my husband.”
Again, I wonder whether there is any religious side to the women’s reactions, or whether it’s tied more to a cultural ideas. For instance, do they see any spiritual benefit to being married to this leader? Sure, these stories are interesting, but so far they seem to be telling only part of the picture.