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40 Mizos of ‘world's largest family’ who survived mass conversion now battle COVID-19

WebdeskJul 30, 2021, 11:15 AM IST

40 Mizos of ‘world's largest family’ who survived mass conversion now battle COVID-19

                                                                                                                                                                      Nirendra Dev

 

The family has 184 members, including 39 widows of the family patriarch Ziona, who did not join Christianity. 

 

New Delhi: Amid ongoing fierce conflicts between Mizoram and Assam on border disputes, 40 Mizos belonging to the ‘world’s largest family’ are now battling the pandemic Coronavirus.

 

Forty of them belong to ‘one family’ whose patriarch Ziona Zionnghaka expired in June due to acute hypertension and diabetes.

 

The family has 184 members, including 39 widows of the family patriarch Ziona, who did not join Christianity.

 

He ran the native 'Chana Pawl cult' before his death on June 13 at the age of 76.

 

Ziona's family lives in Chhuanthar Run in Chhuanthar Tlangnuam village Serchhip district and is a four-hour drive from state capital Aizawl.

 

Social workers say the family “never formally joined Christianity” and instead practice polygamy, although Christianity does not permit it.

 

Late Ziona gave its own hymns and distinct prayer systems, unlike other local Christians.

 

Mizoram is otherwise a Christian majority state, with about 88 per cent of people following that religion.

 

Altogether, 306 people in Chhuanthar Tlangnuam, home to 2,224 people who are also followers of Ziona, were infected with COVID-19 about a week back, a source said.

 

Forty of them belong to Late Ziona’s family. Late Ziona's son Nunparliana (61), the present 'head' of the family, confirmed that his family members have tested positive for Corona.

 

He also has two wives and 15 children. Nunparliana also runs a furniture workshop.

 

The tiny Christian-majority state has already lost 131 lives.

 

Lately, Chief Minister Zoramthanga is in quarantine after his security staff has tested positive for Corona.

 

The Chief Minister had visited Meghalaya capital Shillong to attend a meeting of all northeastern chief ministers convened by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

 

At the state level, officials say the recovery rate of covid patients in Mizoram is still low at 74.36 per cent against the all-India average of about 97 per cent. 

 

 

Around 22,800 people have been cured in the state.

 

Presbyterian churches in Aizawl and other places have been at the forefront of the Covid battle as Mizoram faced a shortage of quarantine centres and healthcare facilities.

 

A prominent Christian social worker and chairperson of the task group of quarantine facilities has lauded the role of churches in fighting the pandemic.

 

"Without the proactive supportive role of churches and Christian volunteers, the Covid crisis in Mizoram would have been a more difficult proposition altogether."

 

The influential Young Mizo Association has also offered its halls to be used as Covid care centres where infected people are being treated.

 

Many Mizos, who speak a Tibeto-Burman language, say they are Jews and claim to be Bnei Menashe (sons of Menasseh), descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel.

 

Mizoram essentially is a homeland of the Lushai tribe, and the place was once called 'Lushai hills.'

 

The state also has a substantial number of Hmar ethnic community.

 

The state has another unique social feature, as many Mizos say there have Jews lineage and claim to be 'Bnei Menashe (sons of Menasseh)' or descendants of a 'lost tribe' of Israel.

 

This section of Mizo people also follows Judaism.

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