AIZAWL: The husband of 39 Wives and head of 94 member family, Ziona Chana of Baktawng village passed away on Sunday to diabetes and high blood pressure.
Ziona became a celebrity of sorts and his village, about a hundred kilometers southeast of state capital Aizawl, started attracting tourists once news of his 39 wives, 88 sons and daughters, and their children and grandchildren–most of them living in the mammoth family mansion–spread a little over a decade ago.
Ziona’s first wife (now widowed), Zathiangi (79)–he was 17 when he married her. Zuari (42) is the youngest widow. Ziona married her 17 years ago when he was 59 and she was 25!
The huge family had been consuming at least 35 kilos of meat, 50 kilos of rice, 25 kilos of vegetables and 20 kilos of pulses every day. The family used to earn enough through farming, carpentry, animal husbandry and making aluminum utensils.
Ziona’s father, Challian Chana, founded the ‘Chana Pawl’ (sect of Chana) in 1942 at Hmawngkawn village, about 60 kilometers north of Baktawng-Tlangnuam.
This sect differs from other Christian sects as far as its values and codes are concerned. Though all followers of ‘Chana Pawl’ worship Jesus, men are allowed to be polygamous.
The followers of this sect–they number over 40,000–are reputed in Mizoram for their hard work and honesty. Many of these followers are doctors, engineers, teachers and bureaucrats.
Ziona’s eldest offspring, Parliana, is 58 and is a grandfather while his (Ziona’s) youngest offspring–a daughter–is just seven years old!
All the 300-odd families in Baktawng-Tlangnuam are members of the ‘Chana Pawl’ (sect). They all follow strict codes of conduct.
Ziona’s passing away due to age-related complications brought about by diabetes and hypertension at a private hospital in Aizawl on Sunday afternoon brings the curtains down on a unique piece of Mizoram’s contemporary history.