Can you move Delhi to Gothenburg 5,894 Km in a secondhand bicycle without food and with lot of suffering for your Love?
This is the story of Dr. Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia from Odisha, India and Charlotte Von Schedvin from Gothenburg , Sweden.
Pradyumna was born in 1949 in a poor family in Odisha. In those
days, his community was considered as an untouchable community.
He experienced many insults because of un-touchability. Later In 1971, he joined College of Arts in New Delhi and gained popularity for making portraits. He got an amazing capability to paint the picture of any person on a canvass.
In 1975, “Charlotte Von Sledvin” was a student in London. She heard the mind blowing capability of Pradyumna in painting portraits.
She came to India, met him and requested him to paint her portrait.
During the time of painting her portrait, they fell in love with each other. Charlotte took the Indian name Charulata and they both married according to Indian traditions. When Charlotte was leaving India, she requested Pradyumna to come along with her to Sweden.
But he was still a student and wanted to finish his studies. She offered him money for air tickets. But he refused and said that he would come to her with his own money. After she had left, the two lovers kept in touch through letters.
His studies were completed later. He decided to go to Sweden to
meet his wife Charlotte. But It was not an easy task. He had no
money. Then he sold all his belongings and bought a second-hand bicycle. Carrying all his paints and brushes, he did an unbelievable Journey.
That was 1978. He started his Journey to Sweden. Riding his bicycle, from New Delhi, he reached Amritsar. In those days, Visa was not required to enter many countries. Then he rode his bicycle days and days and months and months. Riding his Bicycle, he crossed Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria,
Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria and Denmark. His cycle broke down many times on the way and he even had to go on without food for days. But nothing could break his very strong determination to meet his wife Charlotte.
After 4 months and 3 weeks of stunning journey, he finally reached Gothenburg, Sweden. When he reached Sweden, he was questioned by Swedish immigration officers. When Pradyumna said that he had come from India to Sweden by bicycle, the officers totally shocked.
Pradyumna told the officers the reason behind his visit and he showed photographs of his marriage with Charlotte. Authorities were surprised and did not believe that someone of royal blood from Europe would marry a poor Indian. The surprise of the officers made him doubtful about whether his wife Charlotte would accept him or not.
Charlotte knew about the man from India who cycled all the way for nearly 5 months. Immediately she drove to Gothenburg and received her husband with a lot of happiness. In those days, there was a tradition in Europe.
According to that tradition, White people should not marry non-white people. But her parents accepted Pradyumna as a part of their family by breaking the royal tradition.
After 40 years of marriage, Dr PK Mahanandia serves as the Odiya Cultural Ambassador of India to Sweden and lives with his wife Charlotte and 2 children in Sweden. Once his village insulted him as an untouchable. But now the same village gives a wonderful welcome every time he makes a visit.
Pradyumna is well known in Sweden as an artist and is working as an Adviser, Art and Culture, under the Swedish Government. Swedish Government documented the story of Pradyumna as the immortal love stroy of the century.
His paintings have been exhibited in all the major cities of all the countries in the world. His paintings were placed in the prestigious UNICEF greeting cards. On 4 January 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Utkal University of Culture (UUC) in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha state, India. He was also designated as the Oriya Cultural ambassador to Sweden by the Government of Odisha.
Renowned Bollywood film maker “Sanjay Leela Bhansali” is planning to make a film on the true love story of Pradyumna and Charlotte.