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Best Knife Maker Of The World - A Sikh

La Passion des Couteaux

During a visit to the French Embassy in Delhi I saw a magazine “La Passion des couteaux”, published in French language from Paris. While glancing at the attractive magazine I was astonished to see the photo of a young Sikh on the front page, mentioning an article on the best knife-maker of the world. For me it was also an addition to my knowledge that there are magazines which cover only daggers and knives. This 80-page magazine is the foremost in this specialization. 

I requested the Embassy for a translation. After going through the article my curiosity sharpened to have more knowledge about the person who is a celebrity in this profession. 

The artist craftsman is Jot Singh Khalsa. He was born in USA in Boston on 29th September, 1952. He got his education in the University of New York, Arts Section, and holds a degree in goldsmith trade. In the course of time he specialized in the delicate and difficult work in silver and gold. He got training as a manufacturer of jewelry. 

While practicing yoga and meditation he met Yogi Bhajan in the beginning of 1972. Under his influence he adopted the life-style and garb of a Sikh and was given the name of Jot Singh. Since 1990 he is happily married to Harbhajan Kaur Khalsa and is living in Millis, Massachusetts, USA.

After college Jot Singh joined the knifemakers Guild and began to study with established knife makers of USA. He attended courses with some of best American custom knifemakers.

In 1979 he set up his first knife shop in the basement of Guru Ram Das Ashram in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and named it as KHALSA KIRPANS. Jot Singh’s logo, which he imprints on all knives and jewellery, is KHANDA.  In America the Sikhs name it as Adi Shakti.

Jot Singh spends a fair amount of time designing Kirpans that represent a classic harmony of form, function and aesthetics. There is always great satisfaction to him in toiling for hours, days, even month on a Kirpan that will out-live him.

Among knife collections, Jot Singh is perhaps best known for his decorative daggers, folders and automatic knives with hand-forged Damascus steel blades. But he created a unique line of miniature knives, of many different styles and materials, that can be worn as pins, pendants, tie-tacks, even turban pins. He likes to say that knife jewellery can serve as a reminder to “Awaken the spiritual warrior who fears no one and causes none to be afraid.”

During my visits to Espanola I met him and was pleased to see him working in the community kitchen at the Sikh Dharma summer camps where he has devotedly done the langar seva  for years. He enjoys playing Kirtan, favoring the shabads of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. I saw him once reciting Kirtan as a part of American Sikh group in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, Delhi. 

Jot Singh knives can be seen at knife Expo the world over. Photos of his knives have appeared in all of the world known knife making books and journals. He has already won a number of world awards. 

He has prepared special pieces with Ten Guru’s pictures engraved on them and presented to the Sikh Museum at Espanola, New Mexico. Being a humble religious man he never boasts and wears a quizzical smile while getting praise. No one can miss him in the big exhibitions as you are to look for a handsome person with a glorious beard donning an immaculate turban, all draped in a white tunic, and you are in presence of Jot Singh. He is invariably accompanied by his charming wife also in spotless white, complete with turban. 

In 1999, Yogi Bhajan brought 300 American Sikhs to participate in the Tri-centenary birth of Khalsa in Anandpur Sahib. On the auspicious day at Takhat Keshgarh Yogi ji presented one of the costliest sword (kirpan) studded with diamonds to Singh Sahib Bhai Manjit Singh Takhat Jathedar. This sword was prepared by Jot Singh and is preserved in the Gurdwara.   

I am thankful to Ek Ong Kaar Kaur of Sikhnet to connect me to Jot Singh through the internet. He is now 70 years old looking more majestic and graceful and is full of enthusiasm to serve the humanity with his skill and art. By Satguru’s grace he has more fertile ideas than ever before to help our world heal and feel empowered. He is optimistic to set up a much larger manufacturing facility to perform more efficiently to remain competitive in the profession. He remains a devoted Sikh and is still taking part in Kirtan. He is a bright Star of the community. 

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