Even Shakespeare, who wrote in “King Lear” 500 years ago, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child,” would have been shocked by this one: a 27-year-old man in India is planning to sue his parents for giving birth to him without asking him first.
Raphael Samuel, of New Delhi, told ThePrint that he doesn’t owe his parents anything for having brought him into the world, and he wants his message to spread, asserting:
I want to tell all Indian kids that they don’t owe their parents anything. 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.
He insisted, “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.” To that end, Samuel created a Facebook page called “Nihilanand,” which has roughly 800 followers. The Blaze reports:
One photo reads, “A good parent puts the child above its wants and needs,” but “the child itself is a want of the parent.” Another calls parents “hypocrites” and asks, “Isn’t forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career kidnapping and slavery?” Another posting reads, “The only reason your children are facing problems is because you had them.”
Samuel even published a video emblazoned, “DON’T respect your parents, unless you want to.”
ThePrint notes a movement in India that refers to itself as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEM), nicknamed “Stop Making Babies,” which proclaims its opposition to having children. The Print writes, “For VHEM activists, the direst consequence has been environmental degradation. Remaining childless so the Earth’s biosphere can restore itself has inspired a maxim by which most VHEM activists live: ‘May we live long and die out.’”
The leader of the movement is a 28-year-old man named Pratima Naik, who said, “This is a completely voluntary, non-violent movement. We don’t want to impose our beliefs on anyone, but more people need to consider why having a child in the world right now isn’t right.” He also has a social media page; he calls it “Childfree India.” On that page, as The Daily Mail reports, are messages such as these: “Should we continue to bring more children in this world and accelerate the process of environmental and social degradation?” “Do you think existence is pain, and not bringing a child into this world, is a guaranteed way to avoid unnecessary suffering to the child?” “We are a group of people who have decided not to reproduce. We are Childfree Indians!”
A third advocate for eschewing bearing children, Alok Kumar, has a YouTube channel that promotes the idea. He said, “Everyone is aware of how much we suffer in life … I thought about whether our world was a conducive place for bringing children up, and I decided it would be better not to have a child.” He added, “I don’t regret or feel wronged for having been born. But I cannot assume the same for my child.”