Derge Se

Tibetan general to 13th Dalai Lama

There are several differing reports as to the name and identity of Derge Se and how he came to be in Lhasa and subsequently attached to the Dalai Lama's entourage.

Eric Teichman's account of the Derge power struggle in his book, Travels in Eastern Tibet recalls, 'In 1900, or thereabouts, the elder brother of De-ge, named Dorje Senge, went to Lhasa and was confirmed in his rank as Rajah, or King, by the Dalai Lama. During his absence, however, the faction of the younger brother named Ngawang Champe Rincha, which consisted mostly of powerful lamas, made an attempt to install the latter as Chief. The dispute was eventually settled by the intervention of the Tibetan Governor of Nyarong...
In spite of this settlement the younger brother and his lama supporters raised another rebellion a few years later, and the elder was forced to withdraw for a time to Lhasa. In 1906 he returned with troops provided by the Lhasa Government, recovered his throne, and captured and imprisoned the Pretender. The latter, however, escaped, and with the assistance of the northern nomads...started yet another rebellion. It was at this juncture (in 1908) that Chao Erh-feng appeared upon the scene, and expelled the Chief and his brother...
The younger brother, fleeing from Chao Erh-feng, took refuge amongst the nomads of Seshü in the north of the state. On being pursued by the Chinese he fled still further north to the country of the wild Golok nomads, where even Chao Erh-feng did not dare to follow him. Thence he found his way to Lhasa, was attached to the Dalai Lama's suite during His Holiness' exile in Darjeeling in India, and eventually received an official appointment in Central Tibet on the Dalai's return to Lhasa'.

Who's Who in Tibet records that Derge Se's given name is Phuntso Dorji, Derge Theji (or Governor) and that he was born in 1882 and became a lay official of the 3rd rank. Although he was the second son of the Chief of Derge, his father being on bad terms with his eldest son handed over the administration of the state to Derge-Se before he died. Derge was invaded by the Chinese by Chao-Erh-Feng in 1908 and Derge Se then fled to Lhasa, sought the protection of the Tibetan Government and was appointed a General in the Tibetan Army.

The discrepancies in the information reflect the reluctance between the British officers working on the Indian borders and the British officers working on the Chinese borders to share and collate information at that time.

What is clear is that he accompanied the 13th Dalai Lama to India in 1910, and also on his visits to Hastings House, Calcutta, and on his pilgrimage to Bodh-Gaya, and other Buddhist sites in India. He appears to have returned with the Dalai Lama to Lhasa in 1912.
  • Gender
  • Relationship
  • Nationality
  • Born
  • Place of birth
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Amdo: Kham: Derge
  • Died
  • Place of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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