Man with 39 wives and 94 children tops Ripley’s list
Not everybody makes it to the top of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! But the ‘man with the most wives on earth’ would have preferred not to be on the ‘strangest story’ list.india Updated: Dec 18, 2011 01:10 IST
Not everybody makes it to the top of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! But the ‘man with the most wives on earth’ would have preferred not to be on the ‘strangest story’ list.
Considered to be an authority on all things odd, amazing and unusual, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! published the annual list of the strangest stories of 2011 on Thursday. The story of Zionnghaka Chana, 67, topped it among 11 stories from across the world.
“Nice to get the spotlight, but there’s nothing strange about my marriages or my large family,” Zionnghaka said from Baktawng, a village 100 km north of Mizoram capital Aizawl. “Our faith allows us to marry as many women as possible, and I had married 10 in a single year.”
Zionnghaka, a farmer with an engineering background, has 39 wives — his first wife at 17 is three years older to him — 94 children, 33 grandchildren and 14 daughters-in-law. His 181-member family lives in a 100-room, four-storey house. Each member has a specific duty, making the family self-sufficient.
But, admits Zionnghaka, he is nowhere near his father Challianchana who died in 1997. Challianchana had 50 wives and more than 100 children, and had founded the Christian Channa or Lalpa Kohhran cult after falling out with the church for its stand against polygamy.
The cult claims to have more than 4,000 members across four generations.
According to a cult member, Challianchana and his brother severed ties with the church after Welsh missionaries opposed the Mizo practice of worshipping a traditional drum called Khuang.
The Ripley’s recognition hasn’t amused church leaders either.
“Christianity does not allow polygamy and hence accepting the Channa cult as Christian does not arise at all," said a Presbyterian Synod elder.