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Meet The Christian Indian Man With 39 Wives

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Meet The Christian Indian Man With 39 Wives

In some circles of belief, marrying a handful of ladies is commonplace.

We're talking about circles containing people with mildly different sensibilities than those of your run-of-the-mill Judeo-Christian American.

While such behavior tends to leave many of us shocked and a few of us appalled, it still hasn't convinced us to stop watching programs that feature polygamy, like Sister Wives and Big Love.

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But in 2011, an Indian man took our fascination with polygamy (specifically, polygyny) to a pretty extreme degree.

The man in question, 74-year-old Ziona Chana, has 39 wives and a buttload of children and grandchildren (94 and 33, respectively). He also has 14 daughters-in-law.

They all live together in Baktwang Village in Mizoram, India in a house with 100 rooms, and eat some 330 pounds of food per day.

And the wives all sleep together in communal dormitories. That sounds... interesting.

To prepare for just one dinner, the family has 30 chickens, 220 pounds of rice, and 132 pounds of potatoes!

And one might wonder, how exactly do you even begin to gather over a hundred people just for dinner every night?

Do they make a head count to make sure every member of the family has arrived at their allotted seat at the table? Actually, they probably do.

Chana's family is organized with military-like discipline (yikes), and his oldest wife, Zathiangi, is tasked with ensuring that all of Chana's other wives are performing the chores such as cleaning, washing, and preparing the meals.

Once again, that's 38 other wives, so kudos to Zathiangi for getting them all together. (What is Chana's role in all this? Just wondering.)

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That's a lot of wives, kids, rice, potatoes, and chicken for one man to care for, feed and consume.

But Chana doesn't seem to have any problems with it. In fact, he's pretty proud of his huge family.

He has said, "Today I feel like God's special child. He's given me so many people to look after. I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world's largest family." Well, whatever floats your boat. 

But the really interesting thing is that the family is Christian. Chana heads up an offshoot of Christianity called, well... Chana. Chana allows (nay, encourages) men to marry multiple women.

Where this group differs from a fundamentalist LDS sect is that the LDS are looking for more juice in Heaven, whereas the Chana are building an army to help the Big Guy out when he comes back to Earth. (Fun fact: "Chana" is the Hindi word for chickpea, which is also the boring name for garbanzo bean.)

In just one year, Chana married 10 of his wives.

One of his wives, Rinkmini said, "We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house.

He is the most handsome person in the village." She's referring to their sleeping arrangement, in which the older wives sleep further away and the youngest sleep near Chana's bedroom. 

And while you may think that 39 is Chana's lucky number, guess again. He's said, "To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the U.S. to marry."

You know, just in case there's anyone out there in America looking for a husband who already has 39 wives.

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Tom Miller is a writer and performer based in New York. He's been the general manager and coordinating video producer at YourTango for 12 years. His side-chick is acting and improvised comedy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on February 24, 2011 and was updated with the latest information.