News & Opinion | June 16, 2021 11:14 am

Father of 89 Children, World’s Most Prolific Dad, Has Died

Ziona Chana is rumored to have sired the biggest family in the world

A family photograph of the Ziona family on January 30, 2011 in Baktawang, Mizoram, India.
Ziona Chana and his massive brood
Richard Grange/Barcroft India/Getty Images

There are many qualities to which one might aspire as a father: dedication, presence, patience, coolness, not going bald, etc. Being a prolific dad, however, is not a goal with which most men I know of tend to approach fatherhood — unlike Ziona Chana, a man who sired at least 89 children before his death at age 76 last weekend.

I can’t say whether having as many children as possible was Chana’s primary goal as a father, but it’s hard to imagine anyone ending up with nearly a hundred children simply because they just love being a dad. The leader of a Christian sect in the Indian state of Mizoram that allows polygamy for men, Chana is believed to have been the head of the largest family in the world, with 38 wives, 89 children and 36 grandchildren, per a tweet from Mizoram’s chief minister, Zoramthanga, in recognition of Chana’s passing on Sunday of hypertension and diabetes. However, as the New York Post notes, Chana’s actual number of children is disputed, as are claims that he had the largest family in the world. Regardless, the point is this guy had a large family and fathered many, many children.

I’m not interested in shaming non-monogamy or niche religious sects — the one Chana led was founded by his grandfather in the 1940s and reportedly boasts about 2,000 followers. If anything, I think more people should be having sex with multiple partners. It does tend to set off some alarm bells for me, however, when men seem to adopt polyamorous lifestyles for the sole, or at least primary, purpose of siring as many children as possible and “seeding the human race with their DNA,” as one Jeffrey Epstein is rumored to have described his own plans for genetic domination of humanity.

But these men aren’t just high-profile sexual predators and leaders of fringe religious groups. They walk among us. Once on a dating app, I encountered a man whose profile claimed he was looking for “a woman, or several women, rather, to have my child and to raise that child with little to no involvement on my part.” These men seem to fancy themselves some kind of modern-day Genghis Khan, spreading their seed and building an army, nay, an empire of descendants poised to take over the world. Men like Chana strike me as power-hungry narcissists high on their own toxic masculinity who have maybe drunk a little too much of the patriarchal Kool-Aid and imagine themselves the ultimate paterfamilias, a man with more children than god himself.

Then again, maybe he just really liked being a dad.