The village of Baktawng, in India’s north-eastern state of Mizoram, is home to the world’s largest known family, 199 people who live under the same roof in a giant building.
Pu Ziona was the male head of what was generally regarded as the world’s largest family — 38 wives, 89 children, and 36 grandchildren. Ziona passed away in 2021, at the age of 76, due to health problems, but his family continues to live under the same roof. Some of his children got wives of their own, some more than one, and the family member count now stands at 199. They all gather in the great hall of their home twice a day to eat, in a scene that looks more like a busy canteen than a family dining room. The members share everything, from the daily workload to the food and finances.
Keeping a family of 199 members together while also feeding them and putting clothes on their backs is no easy task. Luckily, everyone takes part in it, whether by working in one of the five family piggeries raising about 100 pigs for meat consumption, in the fields, planting various crops, or laboring in one of the family’s four carpentry (木工活) workshops and one aluminum workshop. The two daily meals alone are an arduous task, as they need at least 80 kg of rice plus many other ingredients, which are prepared in giant pots that then have to be cleaned. But these too are shared tasks, so no one complains.
“As humans, we all face difficulties and hardships, but our family has a more positive side as we are a huge family supportive of one another,” one of Pu Ziona’s daughters-in-law said. “When we fall sick, we support one another.”