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World's largest family: 1 husband, 39 wives, 94 children

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Family members of Ziona Chana pose for a group photograph in Baktawng village, India, on Oct. 7, 2011. Ziona is the head of a religious sect called "Chana," which allows polygamy and was founded by his father, Chana, in 1942. Ziona has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren.

Reuters reports:

The more, the merrier is certainly true for Ziona Chana, a 66-year-old man in India's remote northeast with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren -- and he wouldn't mind having more.

They all live in a four story building with 100 rooms in a mountainous village in Mizoram state, sharing borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, media reports said.

"I once married 10 women in one year," he was quoted as saying.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Zuali, 37, twentieth wife of Ziona Chana, adjusts his shirt as his sons and driver watch before heading toward the construction site of a church in Baktawng, India, on Oct. 5, 2011.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Ziona Chana's family members wave from a vehicle on their way to a church construction site in Baktawng, India, on Oct. 5, 2011.

His wives share a dormitory near Ziona's private bedroom and locals said he likes to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

The sons and their wives, and all their children, live in different rooms in the same building, but share a common kitchen.

The wives take turns cooking, while his daughters clean the house and do washing. The men do outdoor jobs like farming and taking care of livestock.


Children of 67-year-old Ziona Chana have lunch at their home on Oct. 28, 2011.

The family, all 167 of them, consumes around 200 pounds of rice and more than 130 pounds of potatoes a day. They are supported by their own resources and occasional donations from followers.

"Even today, I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry," Ziona said.

"I have so many people to care (for) and look after, and I consider myself a lucky man."

Ziona met his oldest wife, who is three years older than he is, when he was 17.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

A view of Ziona Chana's house in Baktawng, India, on Oct. 6, 2011. He lives in this 4-story, 100-room house with 181 members of his family.

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.

Hindu, India's dominant religion, does not allow polygamy, but the nation's laws allow Muslim men to have more than one wife.

India, the world’s second-most populous country behind China, has a birth rate of 2.6 babies for each woman. That pace is expected to keep India's population rising. Analysts say India will reach 1.53 billion population by 2030, when it will surpass China as No. 1 in population.

The United Nations Population Fund, which predicts the world population will reach 7 billion by Oct. 31, says that the world will be on its way to 9 billion 20 years later.

- msnbc.com editors Natalia Jimenez and Jim Gold, with wire service reports.

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