‘Anti-natalist’ suing parents for having him without his consent

Posted: Updated:
ABC News (Australia) -

Twenty-seven-year-old Raphael Samuel says he plans to take legal action against his parents because they brought him into the world without his consent.

His unusual move has prompted both befuddlement and debate on Indian social media platforms.

The Mumbai businessman identifies as an anti-natalist; one who assigns a negative value to birth and believes that life is so full of misery that humans should stop procreating.

Mr Samuel garnered overnight fame in India after he outlined his philosophical stance in a series of YouTube videos in which he is disguised with sunglasses and a large, ill-fitting fake beard.

"I want everyone in India and the world to realise one thing — that they are born without their consent," he said.

"I want them to understand that they do not owe their parents anything.

"If we are born without our consent, we should be maintained for our life. We should be paid by our parents to live."

Mr Samuel's parents are both lawyers, and he says he has a good relationship with them.

"My father is still getting over the idea, but my mother wishes that she had met me before I was born, and she would not have had me," he said.

Mr Samuel's mother expanded on her thoughts on her son's Facebook page.

"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," she said.

The first mention of the term 'anti-natalism' is attributed to the Belgian philosopher Theophile de Giraud.

His first book, the Impertinence of Procreation, published in 2000, argues against having children, for ecological reasons.

But the roots of anti-natalism can be traced back to some sects of Gnosticism at the turn of the first and second centuries AD.

These sects believed that salvation came from knowledge, and all forms of worldly matter were evil.

Some interpretations of early Buddhist texts also offer warnings against bringing children into a world that is full of misery and suffering.

Raphael Samuel's message has hit a nerve in conservative India, where there are 1.5 million children born every month.

"This is what I want to tell everyone; that you have an option to not have children," he said.

"Isn't forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career kidnapping and slavery?"

Mr Samuel said he is yet to find a lawyer willing to take on his case.