Mo’Halla is a pop-up platform for dissident art, culture and politics currently working from Berlin, Germany and New Delhi, India. Created in 2018 as a collective that makes art in response to the fascist consensus on Right Wing Hindutva in India and the Indian diaspora, we exist to bear witness to the crimes against humanity carried on by the Indian Right Wing, and push back against this through our art.
“Mohalla” also spelled Mahallah, Mahalle, Moholla, Maalo etc is an Urdu-Arabic-Turkish-Bengali (and more) term used widely in many parts of India, and the world, to denote “neighbourhood” or “kiez”. Etymologically we think it means a mosque parish or some such, but in daily usage at least in the Indian context, it means neighbourhood. Mo’Halla is also a mashup of two words — “More” and Halla.“Halla” is a Hindi word that means “noise”. We were getting drunk at a loud bar in Neukolln, Berlin, when we came up with the name, and were very pleased with ourselves.
The deal is that we grew up being fed this idea that the only valid socio-political units that we could or should belong to were the “family” or the “nation” or such toxic, arbitrary and honestly meaningless formations. In our own lifetimes we have lived in communities and units outside these reactionary ones, where we have felt true belonging. Our uni campus, for example, was one such unit where we didn’t feel the pressures to be in a family and our regional identities didn’t have to be erased or something. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but at least it wasn’t so fucking suffocating. The moholla is also something like that — a formation of intimacy and belonging that doesn’t necessarily need the homogeneity of bloodlines and other such fascist shit.