he 27-year-old man, Raphael Samuel, from New Delhi, India, is an anti-natalist, a person who believes that people should abstain from procreation because giving birth to sentient beings without asking for their consent is morally wrong.
Samuel doesn’t have anything against children or life itself, he simply believes that a life form which has not given its consent to live should not be brought into the world and thus to be subject to the hardships of life. Because he considers himself a victim of life without “forced life”, the young Indian plans to take his parents to court.
“I want to tell all Indian kids that they don’t owe their parents anything,” Samuel told The Print.
“I love my parents, and we have a great relationship, but they had me for their joy and their pleasure. My life has been amazing, but I don’t see why I should put another life through the rigamarole of school and finding a career, especially when they didn’t ask to exist.”
The 27-year-old runs an anti-natalism Facebook page where he routinely posts anti-procreation messages like “Isn’t forcing a child into this world and forcing it to have a career, kidnapping and slavery?” or “Your parents had you instead of a toy or a dog, you owe them nothing, you are their entertainment”. His page, Nihilanand, only has 431 followers, but Raphael doesn’t seem to bothered about that, after all, we all have to start somewhere.
Interestingly, both his parents are lawyers and according to Raphael, his mother reacted very well to the idea and his father is getting used to it. In a Facebook post shared by Raphael about his mother, she said, “If Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault.”
Unlike most of his followers on Facebook who criticised his idea of suing his parents, Dr. Vageshwari Deswal, senior faculty member, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, believes that it’s time indeed to challenge the established practices. “It makes perfect sense for a person to choose not to do anything that the society considers ‘worthwhile’ with his life and sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. Either have the wherewithal to cushion the lifelong existence of your progeny or restrain yourself from giving birth for the sake of pleasure, perpetuating the family name, support in old age, company for existing child etc…reasons known best to the parents,” said Dr. Vageshwari, adding, “Parents seek maintenance from their children as a compensation for the love and care that they showered upon them as kids, but the issue is that the child was an unconsenting partner in this deal—where he was brought into the world by the parents for their own sake, then is it fair to burden him for being in a situation where he was put without his choice? Just because we underwent something does that give us a right to put another through the same grind—birth, vaccinations, schooling and so on without exercising any agency and then carry the burden of those who put you through all this in the garb of ‘this being for your own benefit’ because that’s how the society works.”
“Other Indian people must know that it is an option not to have children, and to ask your parents for an explanation as to why they gave birth to you,” Samuel said.
Although still small in number, India’s anti-natalist movement is growing at a steady pace and plans to set up a national-level organisation that works on spreading awareness about child-free living. Their arguments range from ethical ones to easing the strain on Earth’s resources or defying societal pressure.