A Mizo village of one man, 50 wives, over 100 kids
Amazing but true! A family of 180 members in Mizoram makes one complete village.india Updated: Jan 01, 2007 09:08 IST
Amazing but true! A family of 180 members in Mizoram makes one complete village. Welcome to Baktawng, 90 km north of state capital Aizawl, for a taste of incredible India.
In the quiet Mizo hamlet, 64-year-old patriarch Ziona presides over 180 members, including his scores of wives and over a hundred children. Ziona, who married 50 times and fathered 109 children, is the self-styled chief of Baktawng, a village ringed by verdant hills.
"Yes, Ziona heads the village. His family could be the largest joint family in the world," said Mizoram Home Minister Tawanluia.
The "villagers" said Guinness Book of World Records officials recently tried to put Ziona into their records for getting married the highest number of women. But the effort went in vain because he refused to pose for a photograph.
The family also carries forward the legacy of a different religious sect. They pride in nurturing the legacy of 'Lalpa Kohhran' (God's Church) founded by their 'godfather' Chana in 1966.
Isolation of this sect from the predominant Presbyterian group came in the 1930s when the church, headed by the Welsh missionaries, banned 'khuang' (Mizo traditional drum) as an instrument of worship.
Chana and his brother Khuangtuaha condemned the Church ban and left with their followers. Till date the descendants have carried the faith of their forefathers.
Chana, who was said to have married over 20 women, died in 1997. After him, his eldest son Ziona, who tied the nuptial knot 30 times, is carrying the legacy of 'Lalpa Kohhran'.
Like his father, Ziona is responsible for the spiritual, social and economic life of all his family members.
"We build a society that is more tolerant of personal differences in views and thoughts and where people appreciate and carry forward the value of mutual respect, love and cooperation," Ziona said.
"To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the US to marry," he observed.
Ziona's first wife Zathiangi, two years older than him, said: "I and my other sisters (other wives of Ziona) are proud to serve our husband till our last breath. We are a very happy and self-reliant family."
Smart and good-looking 26-year old Huntharnghaki is the latest Mizo girl who got married to Ziona this year. She has become a mother too. The baby is only six months old.
"If a family system is laid on the founding stone of mutual and genuine love and respect for each and every member, then the system is guaranteed to be a success," Huntharnghaki explained.
Ziona, who got married to at least 10 women in 2006 alone, is hard working. He toils to keep the whole family without any hardship.
Said Nunparliana, the eldest son of Ziona: "A head count of all my brothers and sisters is a tough job. The last time we counted, we were about 110. Some got married and settled elsewhere. Some even died.
"My father has 50 wives, three of them have died and three have left him. All of us are happy and are having a secure life."
The otherwise sleepy village has its own school, a playground they called Chhuanthar Stadium, carpentry workshops, piggery and poultry farms besides paddy fields and a vegetable garden big enough to feed the entire family.
About 20 kg of rice and at least 10 chickens are cooked daily to feed the giant family, whose main source of income is from carpentry.
"We did not want any help from the government. The members of the church had built the stadium without help from others. Teachers working in our school belong to our church and teach voluntarily," Nunparliana stated.
"From window frames to cupboards, anything can be made out of wood here," he said, claiming that 30 percent of the window frames used in Aizawl are produced in their village.
"We get many uncharitable comments from the people. They called us a religious sect, which is bound to perish. But we are surviving," said a middle-aged Nunparliana.