Civil society is a vital pre-condition for the existence of democracy. The values of civil society are those of political participation and state accountability. Civil society is the set of civic rights, including primarily everyone’s right to participate in Public life. Widowhood is a disruptive and stressful situation in the life of a woman. The widow’s marginal state means that she is, in a manner of speaking, functionally incorporated into the household while being considered an outsider. The Indian woman, soon after widowhood, is excluded from caste rituals and ceremonies. She is subjected to total segregation. Indian society, traditionally, does not allow a widow to have a separate establishment, for she is perceived as not culturally trained to lead an independent life. In the present day society it is very relevant to analyse whether widows could enjoy their civic rights and could participate in Public life. Hence the present study focuses its attention on the awareness, attitude and participation of widows in the development of civil society. The study was conducted among Tamil Brahmin widows living in Punkunnam Agraharam in Thrissur district, Kerala. Data was collected from 30 widows through a well- structured interview schedule.
Keywords: Civil society, Widowhood, Public life.